Perhaps the biggest change in your worklife is one that snuck up on you.

Every morning, before you even take off your slippers, there's a pile of incoming work. You might not think of it as work, because it doesn't involve stuffing envelopes or making sales calls, but it's part of your career and your job.

That email, Facebook and message queue is a lot longer than it used to be. For some people, it's now a hundred or even a thousand distinct social electronic interactions a day. It's as if a genie is whispering in your ear, "I have an envelope, and it might contain really good or really bad news. Want to open it?"

The relevant discussion here: are the incoming messages helping? After all, most of them aren't initiated by you, they have the power to change your mood or your energy or even how you spend your non-electronic time. And they're addictive. When, for some random reason, they ebb and you have a really light few hours–admit it, you check more often.

What's up? Is anyone out there?

It's like living near Niagara Falls and then one night it freezes. You miss the noise. Is it possible the noise is helping you hide from the stuff that scares you?

If you're actually going to do the work, the real work, the work of producing and shipping the things that matter, I'm afraid you're going to have to be brutally honest about whether this is merely a fun habit or actually a useful lever. Once the fun habit reaches a significant portion of your day (try tracking it today), it might be time to take charge instead of to be a willing victim.

Two years ago, I started taking a lot of flak for being choosy about which incoming media I was willing to embrace. What I've recently seen is that this is a choice that's gaining momentum.

It's your day, and you get to decide, not the cloud. I could go on and on about this, but I know you've got email to check…