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Email was thought to improve our world in personal lives and business. And
with full respects to Kevin's comments about newer technology and the power
to do amazing things, it has. However, it has also had a side effect no one
anticipated - a huge burden. Before email, most people received few memos
per day. They usually received any instructions, questions, and information
verbally or in a stack of papers dropped on their desk. Sorting importance
was easy - important stuff had someone standing at your desk demanding
action or calling on the phone every few minutes.
Today, instead of a few messages, you get hundreds and maybe even thousands.
All this consumes time that most never realize they are using. Several years
ago, I was noticing I was receiving over 400 emails a day on the average.
Many were automatically generated from servers spitting out reports or from
groups I was barely a member in, but none the less, I had to take a look at
each one to see if I could ignore it or needed to take action. At an average
of 1 minute per email to open, scan, decide to keep or throw, and maybe
respond, those emails took 400 minutes of my day. That is 6 hours and 40
minutes. That left 1 hour and 20 minutes of a work day to actually work.
Naturally I was not opening all every day, and so I did a very careful purge
of what email came in and what groups I could unsubscribe from without it
being a work impact, since many groups put you in multiple email broadcasts.
I got it down to around 200 emails a day, which was still 3-1/2 hours.
This job I have now produces around 15 emails a day average.
I get a lot more work done.
It was like computers which would improve the work of writers by increasing
our speed and output. Mostly, it has improved our ability to generate tons
of unnecessary paper that ends up being shredded.