My Blackberry Makes Me Worse At Email
Many devices and gadgets change the way you behave. The iPod, for example, has changed the way many people listen to music, me included. Listening to an album is now just one of many ways to explore your music collection. Plenty of people never listen to complete albums at all these days.
My Blackberry has had a similarly striking effect on my habits, only this time it''s not for the better. Since I got my Blackberry I''ve been failing to answer more emails than ever before. If you''ve emailed me in the last few months and not had a response, this is why:
I use my Blackberry to check email when I''m on the move. It''s a perfect way to fill a few minutes waiting for a train or queuing for a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I tend not to have time to reply in these situations, only to read.
If your email is urgent I''ll tap out a reply straight away. If not, I tell myself I''ll reply later and move on to the next message. Of course by the time I get to my desk your email is underneath a pile of other emails so I answer those and yours disappears deeper into the list.
The device has made part of my email task easier - reading the messages. Most of what I go through doesn''t need a reply, so that means less time spend reading email at my desk. And, since I''m doing it in ''dead time'', it''s a timesaver. However, the other part of my email task - answering messages - has become more difficult. It doesn''t fit into these small blocks of time and, when I do have time for it, my attention is diverted to newer messages.
Is this a flaw in my habits or the Blackberry itself? The Blackberry has exposed a weakness in my system. I need to get into the habit of moving emails that need an answer into a folder that I can look at later. This will require some effort - a previous experiment with a ''must reply'' email folder simply resulted in lots of emails being moved to a folder that I never looked at.
However, the Blackberry could do more to help me out. At the moment, moving a message to a folder seems to be a three-click process. I''d like to be able to process my messages with one click. Then maybe, just maybe, you''d start getting replies from me again.