It is exhausting knowing that most of the time the phone rings, most of the time there’s an email, most of the time there’s a letter, someone wants something of you. ~ Stephen Fry
I am not sure why, but today I suddenly became cognizant of the state of my email account, particularly of my email “sent” box. After I did a little happy dance because I had managed to reduce my inbox to a number under 30, I decided to take a look at my sent box – the number there was a bit larger (see the screenshot above). Yes, I have had this email account for @ 3.5 years and I have sent over 16,500 emails in my sent box. This number is not even a proper representation, as when I label a sent message then it is moved out of the sent box and into the location of the label. Therefore, it is probably closer to 17,000 emails.
I am fairly certain that, if email did not exist, I would not have made that many phone calls and I am sure I would not have manually sent out that many letters or memos. What is it about email that has created a new culture of mass communication? Ironically, we communicate more, but seem more detached. I know that parents will send me an email to ask the most basic of questions – probably because email seems less intrusive – they ask questions they would never pick up the phone to ask, but hiding behind a computer screen somehow allows a person to be more bold or more frequent in their communication.
It has changed the reality of my life as an administrator. When I was covering for an administrator in the late 90’s I would receive 2-4 calls a day from parents. At that time I did not receive emails because the school districts had not yet evolved to the point of internet connections in every office and email accounts for staff. Issues came up and I assisted in their resolution. Today as a permanent administrator I receive between 30 and 60 emails a day. The realities of email have indeed changed the role of an administrator – written communication with parents has become a more critical aspect of the position.
Sometimes I LOVE email – I am able to connect with family, friends, and the community I serve. Other days I HATE email, as I feel like I am drowning in it. I am working very hard to find middle ground.
Today, 26 days ’til 40, I wonder if I can challenge myself to find a better balance with my email – I believe I would feel so much saner if I could!