How exactly did we spend our days before email?
Every morning, I go to work with a game plan in my head.
“Today I’m going to write that grant proposal, make on offer on this show and call those donors.”
Then I get to work, turn on my computer and before I know it, it’s noon and all I’ve done is answer emails.
I know that it’s partly my fault. I should turn off the email and work on that grant proposal or offer.
In my defense, however, it’s not like I’m answering personal emails. They are all work related and usually quite important.
And people don’t know how to wait in this instant culture.
If I don’t answer that agent’s email the minute I receive it, I might not book the show. If I don’t send the press release when the newspaper asks for it, my event might not be featured that week.
So I drop everything and email.
Email is also kind of hard to ignore. My computer checks for new email every eight minutes. When a new email arrives, my computer rings. And an envelope icon appears on my desktop.
I think people… office workers, at least… were better off when they relied on mail.
Mail only arrived once a day, if that, so they didn’t have to stop every eight minutes to open envelopes and write responses.
And the person who sent the letter didn’t expect a response right away.
Even if the recipient sat down and wrote back the second they received the letter, it still took time to return. No one really cared, or even knew, if you waited an hour or two to pen your response.
Plus it’s easy to ignore mail. Mail doesn’t ring or buzz or flash. If you want to ignore a letter you just put it in a drawer.
I know we can’t go back to those days and most of the time I wouldn’t want to, but sometimes I’m so overwhelmed by e-mail that I almost agree with this sign at the post office.