When I first read what Joel Spolsky had to say about how task switching was harmful (as in, there is no such thing as multitasking), I thought that what he had to say was interesting and probably right on the mark. At the same time, though, I was quite enamored with the idea of instant messaging and chat as a valuable tool for collaboration in the workplace, especially as Jabber was bursting onto the scene.

So I blithely ignored Joel’s advice. I also ignored the steady stream of writing about the tyranny of email. And you know what? I’ve begun to regret it. Email’s great, but I’ve allowed myself to be controlled by it.

Live and learn. I now check my email only a couple times a day and am on IM on only when I’m not coding and can tolerate interruptions. When not reading email, I close the application. I’m not nearly ready to go to the extreme that Sterling Hughes has, but already I’m getting a whole lot more done and feel better about my day.