Do you ever have days when you keep checking your e-mail, but you’re just wasting your time, because nothing’s appearing in your inbox?
Today was one of those days. And somehow, in an odd way, the day ended up feeling a bit empty.
Am I really that attached to getting e-mail? Dan Ariely thinks so. In his book Predictably Irrational, he talks about e-mail addiction. Based on what he says, I think a lot of us have this addiction–we just don’t realize it.
Ariely talks about the entertainment factor of e-mail. I really think he has a point there. E-mail is personalized entertainment. Filling our inboxes, filling our lives. Have you ever continued an e-mail conversation not because you cared, but simply because you wanted more e-mail? More entertainment? I certainly have.
At the same time, I love e-mail as a form of communication. I communicate better when I have the chance to think about something and compose sentences to express myself instead of just blurting it out loud. But I see that depending on e-mail as a form of entertainment is pretty dangerous.
Ariely compares e-mail to gambling. Every time you refresh your inbox or click send/receive, you’re pulling down on a veritable slot machine. What’s it going to be this time: A message from that really hot girl you’re talking to? From someone wanting to buy ad space on the blog? From a hilarious friend?
It’s a gamble every time–and by “every time,” I mean hundreds of times a day. Think about the sheer number of times you check your e-mail, whether it’s refreshing your inbox on your iPhone to glancing at the Gmail tab on your computer to clicking send/receive in Outlook (or whatever the Mac equivalent is…I’m sure it’s very chic and involves raising your eyebrow smugly instead of clicking the mouse). I may only go to the casino once every 5 years, but I’m gambling hundreds of times a day with e-mail.
What’s the solution? Today makes me think that there must be a better way. I can’t spend my day bored and uninspired simply because I’m not getting e-mail (and yes, I was still working, but even work was boring without the receipt of much e-mail). I can think of tons of solutions, but I don’t like any of them, because I want my e-mail! Help me out here, people.
Also, if you’re looking for a more interesting distraction than e-mail, check out the other Blank Slate Press author’s new blog. You can tell this guy is going to be good.