When I took the SAT in high school, we were asked what career we planned to pursue. I said I wanted to be a doctor. Now, after over thirty years in international affairs and information technology, I am becoming more like a doctor after all. No, I’m not healing anyone and my medical knowledge is not immense. I’m just becoming more like a doctor in the way that nearly everyone I work with is behaving like a traditional doctor. First, we all have today’s equivalent of a pager — the smartphone. Can you resist the urge to check on important new text messages or emails during an elevator ride? At a stoplight? Has the urgency of all tasks increased in proportion to the speed of communications? It’s no longer sufficient to make phone calls; now I have to make an appointment to make a phone call via email. I have close business associates who will send me appointments for calls rather than call me. We then go back and forth on the appointment to nail down a convenient time, sometimes when we are both available to have had the call instead of shuffle our calendars. This false urgency is taking a toll on us. We are distracted, scattered, and shallower than back in the good old days. I think the quality of our work and our lives is suffering. I would like to research this more, but several new emails arrived, and I have a con call scheduled in 16 minutes, so I will have to revisit this topic later…
This blog entry is from blogs.infostrat.com
I’m guilty of this too. Recently I have been trying to use shared calendaring tools to schedule meetings and conference calls, where you get all expected participants to mark their availability and pick the time that works. It does mean having to go online and being realistic about how much discretionary time you actually have, but it cuts down significantly on group email appointment tag.
I never even considered that there was a time where people generally wouldn’t schedule phone calls. Kind of ironic, these new, ultra-fast means of communication are actually making us worse communicators in some ways.
“Has the urgency of all tasks increased in proportion to the speed of communications?” Nice quote.