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Create separation.

Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University who writes about the intersection of technology and culture, said many people succumb to what he calls the list/reactive method: They instantly react to communication — texts, emails, Slack messages — while occasionally trying to make progress on their work. One moment they’re responding to an email from their child’s teacher, the next they’re jumping on a conference call — blurring the line between the professional and personal.

Set expectations.

Talk to your colleagues — or, if you’re a teacher, your students — about when you are available to answer them.

Assume control of your inbox.

One of the simplest ways to clear out your inbox is to unsubscribe from mailing lists. Both Gmail and Apple’s Mail app notify users if an email is from a mailing list with the option to unsubscribe with a single click. Use it.

Remember, you’re in charge.

There are small lifestyle changes you can make to tune out when needed. Dr. O’Keefe recommends taking time to examine each of your digital tools and ask, “How does this fit in my life?”




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