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Friday, October 12, 2012

Why Isn't Technology Helping?

When I first began using email roughly 15 years ago, I answered all my emails in 15 minutes each morning before I began work. Before long, the time allotted grew to an hour, then two hours, and then three. Flash forward to 2012 and I spend a whopping 6 hours a day answering emails. This is in addition to my workday, not to be confused with during my workday.

I receive on average 300 emails each day, 7 days a week. This is NOT counting spam, which numbers into the thousands. After an event such as Book 'Em North Carolina, my inbox swells to more than 1,000 a day. I have employed as many as 2 people to help me wade through the mountain of emails but in the end, I'm the go-to person for how to respond.

Yesterday before I started my 8-10 hour workday, I spent five hours answering emails, responding to tweets, Facebook entries and blogs directed to me. Though I have a presence on Pinterest, I haven't even begun to interact with it in any significant way. At the end of my workday, I spent an additional 3 hours answering more emails.


I spoke to another author who has a growing blog following. She began by posting her blog in a few short minutes each morning. Then as the list grew and she began commenting, her workday began to grow - and it's still growing.

A friend who runs a non-profit tells me that her world is spinning out of control. She used to mail things to sponsors, benefactors, and others related to her work. There would be a week or two lag time before they'd respond, and no one thought anything of it. Now someone sends her an email and if she doesn't respond within 15 minutes, they're emailing again or calling to ask what's the holdup?

Technology was supposed to make our lives better. Microwave ovens. Running water. Food from the grocery. Carryout. Email. Cell phones. GPS. Laptops. iPads. eReaders. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Blogs.

Then how is it possible that my grandparents, who raised their own livestock, milked their own cows, sewed their own clothing, drew water from a well and had to walk outside in the middle of the night to find their way to the outhouse in the dark - worked 8 or 9-hour workdays and had time for dinner with the family in the evenings, weekends, church on Sunday...

And with all the technology we have today, all it has managed to do is make our days longer and the hamster wheel go faster?

3 comments:

Author & Illustrator said...

You're definitely right about that. It seems like I spend more time tapping on the plastic letters and staring at a bright screen than doing anything else. No wonder I have back problems!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I spend several hours a day blogging and with my followers, there's just no way I can get to everyone.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's why I've ditched so many social sites. I continue to post and comment on blogs, but I don't visit Facebook, Twitter, or DA very often anymore.

I get between 200-300 emails a day. I try to stay on top of it so it doesn't scare me the next day.