Drowning in email and looking for a lifeline - The Packer

Drowning in email and looking for a lifeline

07/22/2013 10:08:00 AM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstToday, like most every morning, I’m blitzing through my inbox.

The snap judgments that all of use to decide whether to open an email or simply delete it, to read it through or simply skim the first thing that catches our eye, we all are performing triage on our priorities.

This morning I quickly reviewed recall notices from the FDA, an update from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, a letter from my alma mater about the upcoming football season, a newsletter from another produce publication, several notices of new members applying to The Packer Market, a letter about a nomination for The Packer and The Grower magazine Apple Man of the Year Award.

And these are email only in one inbox. My Gmail inbox is also starving for attention, with multiple USDA price reports, various e-newsletters from social media apps, produce associations and LinkedIn groups, Google alerts, forwarded emails from older relatives about a heart-warming story or a cautionary tale of too much government involvement in healthcare, the latest travel offers from Southwest, my “personal horoscope” (“After looking over your charts, it became astonishingly clear to me why I want you to have this medallion in your hands as soon as possible.”), my bank’s billpay reminders and the list goes on.

Wikipedia dates the  use of email as we know it today to 1993.

The Wiki passage on email acknowledges that email cannot always be relied on to be instant communications, since some among us don’t put the same priority on responding to the email as the sender would like. It turns out that text messaging is more effective than email in getting a quick response from some of us. For others of us, we have to be button-holed in person or we may never respond.

Washington Post coverage of the question “How much time do we spending dealing with emails?” said that recent research shows as much was 28% of our days can be used up in that way.

The research suggests that social networking is one way to cut down the clutter and become more efficient.

The use of Twitter and social media Forums like The Packer Market or LinkedIn help us see the big picture of what is important for any particular day. You can find the hot news by involvement in social media networks.


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