I have previously posted on my blackberry and how much I enjoy the device. I use it so often my friends say I am addicted to it and I can easily see why they draw that conclusion. Something happened to me this past Friday that makes me call into question the relationship that I have with my blackberry, or more specifically, “always on” mobile email. The thing that my 8700c does best is allow me to stay connected via email and text message to everyone in my contact list. I have nearly all of my important information synced to the device and I use it to make my phone calls, check email, check sales, and surf the web when I am not at my work machine. For any geek who is “always on” this makes total sense, but what about those times you want to disconnect… nay, what about those times when it is healthy for you to disconnect?
This last Friday night I was stressed out and tired. I had just spent a long day in a u-haul moving from Pittsburgh to New York City. Naturally, my computer was packed tightly away and offline so I turned to my blackberry to stay connected with the daily work at Wallhogs. At around 8:30 PM I received an email from our CEO. He was asking about a specific project and I will openly admit it should be further along than it is. The problem though was that in my current environment neither of us was in any condition to think about this project, make any meaningful contribution to the solution, or review our forcasts in such a position. The email made me frustrated that I was disconnected and pissed off at the bottlenecks that are prohibiting moving forward on this project. It got me fired up about work and steaming about my current situation. At that very moment I questioned why I had to be connected. Why was it essential that I read that email on Friday night? Would it have killed anyone if it waited until Monday? Why must I read every email as soon as it comes in?
One simple cause is that I am being PUSHED all of my email. I have no control over the delivery times. The email shows up in my inbox moments after it is sent. In this situation, it was a bad time to deliver me work emails. This email lead to another which I also just HAD to respond to. All in all they pissed me off and cost me a few hours of my weekend that should have been spent on my apartment, relaxing, or being a normal 26 year old guy in the middle of New York City. This one moment caused me to review my relationship with this technology and I must say that I am seriously thinking about replacing my blackberry with a regular phone or shifting my email delivery system to pull only. There is no reason a work email should ever disrupt me in such a negative way ever again. Period.