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