Lackluster skills and a penchant for guilt…

It is amazing how high a pile of little tasks can pile-up if you are not constantly on top of them.  This is especially true when they are email related tasks – answer this, look at that, forward a document, take a survey, schedule a meeting, share your thoughts, review minutes, etc., etc. – and so it goes every single day to the tune of 200 emails a day.  Remind me to tell my father he was right about the value in learning to type.  I should have taken typing in high school when I was young and had the chance to learn proper skills.  Now I am a haphazard hunt and pecker that maybe produces 20 words a minute on a good day.

Email exacerbates the life of a hunt and pecker.  I know I could try and use my Dragon software for answering emails (it translates spoken word to text), but that would require me to increase my Dragon skills quite a bit and I do not have time for that now.  Instead, I try daily to keep up with the sorry skills and complete lack of adequate time I have.  I fail daily – miserably.  This constant failure results in a feeling of dread every time I hear my laptop ding that I have a new email.

I must say, as the dinosaur I am – I miss the pre-email days.  Advancements are only appealing if you are advancing with them.  I feel like I am getting farther and farther behind with each passing year.  I am not advancing.

I will often spend an entire weekend day trying to move through mountains of email just to stem the tide somewhat.  And I do mean somewhat.  The last time I can remember having my email down to a manageable point was a few years ago.  It was a glorious, but fleeting, feeling.

The problem with email is – email begets email.  When you respond to an email, about 50% of the time you receive something back.  Sure, the something back may not require a response, but there it comes with a ding as it lays itself upon the never-ending pile.

The guilt that is produced by my inability to manage responding timely to the avalanche of emails I receive is tremendous.  I try and respond to the emails that have some sense of urgency as soon as is practical, but the others sit there seeming to mock my inadequacy.  I thought at one point that I would implement a 24 hour respond or delete policy, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Instead, they either sit in my inbox or are assigned to one of the over one hundred file folders I have between my two active email accounts.

And I am not even talking about the email and messages I get from my Yahoo, Gmail, LinkedIn, or Facebook accounts.  You might as well send a messenger on foot given the rate of speed with which I respond to those items.  I have virtually no time in my days for such things.

There is a rare occasion wherein I am in active email answer mode that folks will email or message me and get an immediate response.  The odds of this happening are about one in a hundred, but it does happen.  Most folks make the effort when this happens to thank me excitedly for responding so quickly.  That just makes me feel like a bigger goober.

I really want to institute an email furlough to allow myself the opportunity to get back to square one, but I know that there is no escape from email in this day and age.  This is the curse that has been visited upon me – the dinosaur with the lackluster skills and a penchant for guilt.  I dream of the day – in the future when I retire – that I can forgo an inbox and get back to telephone conversations.  I have completely adapted to that technology.  Well, the cordless phone part at least. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and seven of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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