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Push eMail Addiction

Mike Cottmeyer Chief Executive Officer
Reading: Push eMail Addiction

Okay… I have not really written anything in the past few weeks while I got prepared for Agile 2008 and my subsequent ASPE webinar this past Tuesday. I have to admit, I am kind of tired of thinking agile thoughts for the moment.

Give me the weekend and I’ll get back in the game.

I did have an experience last week at Agile 2008 I’d like to share with you guys. A few posts back, I was lamenting the things my new iPhone didn’t do that my Blackberry was very good at.

One thing noticeably absent from my commentary was the iPhone’s battery life. At the time I wrote that post I’m not sure I knew how bad it actually was. If I have GPS, Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi, and push email running at the same time, and I don’t use the phone as an actual phone, I can sometimes get the battery to last about 5-7 hours. That is just terrible.

Last week, while at Agile 2008, I turned all those services off so I could actually have a phone for the entire day. The good news was that I could get the phone to work from 6 AM to sometime after midnight. Not stellar, but acceptable. I was able to function.

So… now the point of this post. When I wanted to get email, I actually had to go into the mail client and check for it. I basically went an entire week with no push email. You know what… I didn’t even miss it. The world did not come to an end and no major catastrophe took place becuase I didn’t instantly get notified of every new mail that hit my inbox.

The last evening of the conference I was sitting at dinner with a good friend of mine that still has his Blackberry. We were discussing the conference and a myriad of other personal things going on in our lives. It was a great conversation, pretty deep, and pretty meaningful. Our dinner was interrupted no less than five times with an incoming email. Is there anything that important?

Do people deserve to have email answered immediately? Is that a reasonable expectation in today’s day and age? Shouldn’t the people we have dinner with be able to expect our undivided attention? Is it too much to ask someone to be fully present for an intimate conversation?

It seems that the Blackberry has created a world where we expect instantanous response. I have been on both sides so I am in no place to judge. I’ve decided for myself that people need to be able to wait 24 hours. If you have to get a hold of me, give me a call. If you choose to send email, expect to wait a few hours for me to get back to you.

For now, I am leaving push email off on my new iPhone. I like my life better without the constant intrusion of email.

Next Refactor Your PMP: Quality Management

Comments (4)

  1. joapen

    Great decision, Blackberrys uses to exceed our attention on them

  2. Kevin E. Schlabach

    My treo broke 6 months ago… I got a very cheap replacement phone expecting to get the iPhone 3G when it came out.

    I haven’t gotten the new iPhone yet. Mostly because of the higher cost (save 100 on the hardware, spend 120 more on the plan… sounds 300+ more expensive to me).

    I’ve noticed something though. I feel lighter on my feet not answering SMS, email, etc. AND, I’m not any less productive. The world has not crashed. I simply do that stuff when I’m back at my computer one hour later.

    The only time I miss it is when I’m off the grid for 3+ days with family. Then I realize that the PDA/phone is helpful… but this off-the-grid state doesn’t happen very often and it is better for my family. So, I’m thinking I might try staying this way for a while. Maybe 6 more months? Then when I do finally get the uber-iPhone upgrade with the next version… I’ll use it more appropriately.

    Side note: I actually know a guy that refuses to own a cell phone for this reason. No, he’s not amish.

  3. Mike Cottmeyer

    So… push email has stayed off for the past week. If I could only stop checking email every 30 minutes now ;-) I would be okay. Actually, at least having the push off allows me time to get immersed and in a state of flow without being interrupted.

  4. Rick Austin

    Push email just adds to the problem where we are unable to get into the "zone" so we can focus on solving real problems. We've gotten so used to responding to the urgent that we find it hard to stay on target to complete those items that are important.

    I've personally made a conscious decision to stop Outlook, put the BB on silent, and focus on important work.

    I had convinced myself that I was getting less accomplished because I was older ;-> Turns out, I was letting the urgent drive my behavior rather than making my own decisions about what is important.

    And as Kevin commented, the world is not crashing.


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