My activities on the internet have expanded to a degree that I require 3 email addresses, not counting messaging on Facebook. Initially, I hoped different addresses would make storing my correspondence easier to find later. My experience has proved the opposite.
Of course, I shouldn’t complain. Being busy is better than being bored. But my aged brain neither multitasks nor multifiles, well. If I drop into the “General contacts” slot the name of a future guest for “Just Read It,” the 10 minute book review program I moderate on YouTube, that mistake can cost me an hour of searching.
Faulty filing isn’t my sole problem. Getting folks to reply to my emails is another. I must be persistent. Most of the time, a late reply comes with an apology. “So sorry. Too much email. Your message got buried.”
I forgive these delays. In reality, I have no choice. But wouldn’t it be better, I wonder, if people made an effort to respond in timelier fashion?
Yes, I know, studies show that “spending too much time on email can make you less productive.” (“Competent people… by Adam Grant, excerpted from The New York Times, The Week, Mach 1, 2019. Pg. 34.) But ignoring it, despite the overflow, doesn’t improve performance, either. We all get too much email. I haven’t needed maxi pads in years, yet the coupons still arrive in my inbox.
But good stuff appears, as well. Who knows, one day, I might discover I’ve inherited $3 million from a long, lost uncle. In any case, I don’t want a prolonged silence to signal my indifference toward a business connection or a friend.
Employers are alert to overflowing inboxes, by the way. Researchers who examined the digital habits of teams at Microsoft found “the clearest sign of an ineffective manager was being slow to answer emails.” (Ibid pg. 34.)
Occasions may arise when I wrongly slot my electronic correspondence. But, sometimes, I suspect I’m searching for replies my contacts have yet to write.