Constant Connectivity Is Ruining Your Productivity

Alexis Haselberger
4 min readJun 10, 2024


Do you hesitate to set boundaries because of how others might react? Do you feel like you have to be “always on”? Does your anxiety prevent you from being able to step away from email/slack for the weekend, the evening, or even an hour during the workday? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, I get it.

We live in a world where we’re always connected. Or at least, we have the capability of always being connected.

In the pre-laptop, pre-internet era, people rarely took work home; in the early days of my career, I had a desktop computer at work (a bright orange iMac, if you want to picture it!).

It was hard to take work home. It required effort.

We did take work home sometimes, of course, but it was an exception to the rule.

(I’m thinking particularly, of one time when I printed hundreds of resumes for a role I was hiring for and brought them home so I could review them over the weekend. And I didn’t even stop for a minute to think about all the paper I was wasting. Those trees! I’m so sorry for my past digressions.)

Now, if you’re thinking, “Alexis, don’t you help people learn to use their time in such a way that they don’t have to take work home? Why were you taking work home especially when it was hard to do so?”, let me remind you that we all evolve, we all learn new skills, and I didn’t come out of the womb excelling at time management!

But I digress.

We now live in a world where the default is to be connected.

We have email and Slack on our phones, notifications are on by default, and really, when was the last time you worked from a desktop computer?

But the problem with the fact that you can check email from your phone, while waiting for your waiter to take your order, or in bed when you could be doing literally anything else, is that we’re creatures of convenience.

Because you can, you do. Even if you know that’s not the best thing for you. But back to boundaries.

One of the chief complaints of leaders I work with is the inability to make time for heads-down, strategic, deep work.

Between all the meetings and the endless stream of messages, it just seems like there’s no time.

The (somewhat) obvious answer to this is to batch process communications so that you’re not being interrupted every 15 seconds and can actually set aside time to “do the work”, or even to think.

And, while technically, this is a simple thing to do, it’s definitely not easy for most people.

Simple and easy aren’t always synonymous. And the reason it’s not that easy is, in part, because you’re worried about what others will think.

You’re worried that if you suddenly become inaccessible for a couple of hours during the workday, people will think you’re not working, you’re not responsive, and/or you’re not responsible.

And while, I generally think that that’s just your anxiety talking, because no one is thinking about you as much as you’re thinking about you (if they’re thinking about you at all) anxiety is a real beast.

So, what can you do?

The answer to this one is not only simple, but it’s easy too:

  • Just tell people what you’re doing.
  • Set an OoO reply that says something to the effect of:
  • Set an away message in Slack/Teams, to the same effect.
  • If you feel you really need to, give a verbal head’s up to people you’re worried might judge you. You can say something as simple as:
  • “I’ve read a lot of research that supports the benefits of batch processing your communications and turning off notifications in the interim so that you can get more done and I’m trying it out.”
  • “If you don’t get me as fast as you were expecting to on email/Slack, please reach out to me on [insert emergency channel].”

Now, what’s this “emergency channel”, you may be wondering?

Well, that’s the method to contact you if there’s a true emergency.

For most people, this ends up being a phone call or a text, as these methods are used much less frequently for work, so the signal-to-noise ratio is much better.

Sound simple? It is. If you’re worried about what people will think, just tell them what you’re doing. Then you don’t need to be worried about what they’ll think, because they’ll know.

Subscribe to my newsletter HERE.

Originally published at on June 10, 2024.