I went to another city for a wedding recently and was away for 5 days. I did borrow my firend's computer to book a hire car, but apart from that did not look at anything on the computer for the whole 5 days. I missed EETimes more than the email, but managed fine without both. As long as you're busy with something else, it's not difficult.
Do NOT read your email before you go home. 9 times out of 10 there will be something you just have to do something about and cannot do it till the next day. And will definitely disturb your evening.
I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I'd used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.
Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don't have time for such study.
On the other hand, I need to communicate with thousands of people all over the world as I write my books. I also want to be responsive to the people who read those books and have questions or comments. My goal is to do this communication efficiently, in batch mode --- like, one day every three months. So if you want to write to me about any topic, please use good ol' snail mail and send a letter to the following address:
Prof. Donald E. Knuth Computer Science Department Gates Building 4B Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-9045 USA.
@Crusty: Oh the joys of the good old days. When I first worked at London Transport Research Laboratories.
Hi Crusty -- how is life at Crusty Mansions? I trust Mrs. Crusty is in good voice (LOL) I remember when I went on my first co-op placement as a student -- we had to beg permission to make an external phone call and we were billed for any calls we made at the end of the month...
Max, try turning off the bings. That wah, you only know that hou have a new message when you take the time to look. Then, process them in batches, say once an hour. remember it mail, which is not real time. Unfortunately, some people think mail is real time. Even texting isn;t real time. (tell that to a teenager).
@Max: Oh the joys of the good old days. When I first worked at London Transport Research Laboratories.
I well remember having to ask my head of department if I could have a chit(hand written) to have my hand written, in pencil, report typed by one of the ladies in the typing pool, along with a covering letter. The typeing would take a day and probably required changes taking another day. The final report then went to the head of department for his siganture to be appended to mine, another day, and then the whole thing went to the post room for dispatch another day.
Memos were hand written and went in the internal post and took on average two days to cross London.
Any number of phone calls were allowed if internal, 2 local external calls were considered maximum per day. Calls out of England were only made via the head of the laboratories phone.
Computer PDP 11 not connected to external internet.
Talk about being able to focus on a task, I think I was never more productive than then.