Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Email used to be something that you enjoyed getting, like a friend calling or a letter from your grandmother. It is no longer. Everyday the email battle begins first thing in the morning with the onslaught that comes from that first push of the Inbox button. That tiny button holds back a dam of email that then floods your inbox in wave after wave of subject titles that demand your attention.

On a good morning, that number is fewer than 50. On a bad day, it's closer to 100. Every one of them has to be looked at, classified, archived, answered or deleted. This can easily take half an hour or more to do properly, ensuring that no client is left without an answer, no receipt is left unprinted, no payment is left undocumented and no friend is left wondering why you haven't answered. If that were the end of it, that wouldn't be a terrible drag on anyone's time.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. The email keeps coming. It keeps coming and coming. If you run to the store, it builds up while you're gone. If you stay away for a few hours, you have it to come home to. If you should ever take a day or two off, you fear opening it and finding out just how much of it there is to get rid of. You may hit Inbox with your eyes closed, dreading the final tally.

If you work online, you may have come to hate the email, and I do about half the time. Sometimes it's to be tolerated. Sometimes it's a nice distraction from other things. Sometimes it has unexpected surprises in it (kaching, ebook sale!). Sometimes it's a burden that never, ever seems to be lifted.

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