Sometimes the mere drip, drip, drip of a leaking faucet can drive you up the wall.
It's nothing earth shattering, nothing life threatening, nothing that cannot be fixed. Nothing, in other words, that should cause any stress. Common sense dictates that it is nothing to bother about - it's just a leaky facet.
And yet the brain complains at the constant intrusion, at this never-ending little assault on your senses that breaks your rhythm, makes you lose your focus, and makes you throw up your hands in exasperation.
It's the little things that get us down sometimes. The big ones we can often cope with. A make or break decision propels us into action and the adrenaline flows to help us cope. But the incessant drip of a faucet can drive us nuts.
Email is a bit like that. It keeps coming and coming. Not all of it is worth reading, most is not really urgent - if its really urgent someone is likely to call you or pop into your room. All it does is break your concentration and prevent you from focusing your energy on solving the one true problem that you actually need to tackle.
There is a solution of course. To shut down Outlook, or the Gmail page, or the beeper on the Blackberry.
I know it is scary. What if I shut down Email and someone needs me this very instant. What if the world is coming to an end and I'm needed to save the day !
Well, for one thing, the world is not going to come to an end.
For another, if it really were coming coming to end they won't Email you, they will be crashing down your door.
And for another if it is really, really coming coming to an end, Email is the last thing you need to worry about !
But, jokes apart, its worthwhile to set aside some quite hours everyday when you switch off your Email and get some real work down.