I love e-mail!
I am one of those people who responds to e-mail immediately... as long as I am at work. E-mail allows me to keep in touch with people around the world. I can open a blank note and send my latest piece of news or the events of my life to anyone and everyone within a minute. Sometimes an e-mail from a friend will leave me laughing or smiling on an otherwise normal day in the office.
Life has become easier with e-mail. I can send pictures, ask questions, handle Diva related issues... within a moment I can notify a hundred people of a time change or something so very exciting that I just can't wait to share. Everything is quick, effortless, and painless. With a click of a button, one task is complete, I can move to the next.
I can also send an e-mail to the person working in the office next door - ah, less exercise and no need to engage in small talk or unnecessary conversation! I love e-mail!!
But I hate e-mail too.
E-mail is invasive. I have found myself on the phone engaged in conversation with someone and... an e-mail pops into my inbox. Of course, I have to see who it is from and what it contains.
This is a bad habit. I am talking on the phone - why is that I need to know, at that very moment, what is contained in the new e-mail?
I refuse to check my work e-mail at home. If something is so important that it needs to be completed "now" then, the other party can call. Unless I intentionally take work home, work stays at work.
I realize that not everyone is able to work only at work. Their jobs are demanding and require that some work is done at home - there just aren't enough hours in the day. But there is a limit to what we should be expected to do at home? A limit to how responsive we should be to our e-mail?
Yesterday I called a friend. "I'll call you back in a second, " he said. Twenty minutes later he called to tell me that two e-mail arrived right after I called. He would take care of them and call me back.
He responds immediately to his e-mail - and this is not an exaggeration. If you e-mail him with a work question or request between the hours of 8 am and 11 pm - he will do his best to turn your request immediately. His coworkers have become accustomed to this speedy return and the quality of his work. They do not hesitate to contact him, via e-mail, with last minute requests and short deadlines. He fulfills their requests.
He is a manager's dream employee. he is a slave to his e-mail. His life has become something that he lives only when he is not connected.
I could never live my life like this.
E-mail is everywhere. We can find ourselves a connection to our accounts at most any time and in most any location. Many of us carry our e-mail account with us wherever we go. E-mail has wormed its way into our everyday lives. We can talk with friends, schedule dates, and conduct relationships, all over e-mail. People request things via e-mail that they would not, without more thought, via the phone or in person. E-mail has increased our expectations.
I suppose that e-mail is like everything, it can so easily be abused. It offers so much and yet, if handled improperly, it can take control. The key is balance... setting boundaries... and learning to say "no" to e-mail!
Ah, e-mail, I love you... for all that you are and all that you can be, but... I will not let you take control!