How March Madness is Like Email

March Madness, you're back again this year.

My kids know nothing about Cinderalla teams, the Sweet 16 or "bubble teams".  When I came to them a few weeks ago and floated the idea of filling out some bracket sheets, they shrugged and said, "Sure Dad, we're in".  The bribe of a prize for the winner was enough to push them over the top.

We downloaded the official iPhone app to track our teams and each night we highlight those teams that won during the day.  Our conversation has been somewhat amusing.

"Who is Duke anyway dad?"

"My teacher tells me that St. John's is the best but I have no idea why."

"I should win because my handwriting is better than yours Dad."

Not surprising, I've found myself sucked into our bracket situation.  My iPhone has been busy notifying me several times a day about injury reports.  Our brackets at one point became the centerpiece of our dinner table.  I even got upset when the "special marker" that we use for the brackets went missing for a few minutes.

What I have noticed is a striking similarity between March Madness and email management.  I know, some are saying that bracketology might actually be good for workplace productivity.  Still, I just don't buy it.

Like email, anything that is holding your attention more than 3 times a day is going to produce drag on the system.  The habits of only checking email a few times per day, batching tasks and finding alone time still hold true.  These make up a strong antibody against being on all of the time.  Or checking your brackets all of the time.

As Lent continues, I'm going to refocus my energy on single tasking and doing just one thing at a time.

And on only checking my brackets once a day.  Go Duke!