Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wrestling the Crackberry

I just got my first Blackberry last Friday.  A Tour, it is the latest model with all the gadgets, world compatible as well for my business travels.  Only I wasn’t headed into a business trip but a once a year week long visit to family in my hometown 2,000 miles and a day of flights away. 

Before I boarded in San Jose, I marveled at how easy the Blackberry made it to check on how things were going at work.  A gentle buzz of the phone in the clip on my waist alerted me to each incoming e-mail.  I fired off quick responses and smiled like Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire, pleased with my newfangled brilliance and competency.

At Dallas Fort Worth, I turned on the Tour at touchdown, and over the course of an hour layover learned to wait a good 15 minutes for all my messages to materialize before responding.  When I reached Wichita, I checked again and swiftly answered before hopping into my rental car and driving to the family house. 

Hugs and dinner and good conversation hours later, I checked my crackberry for the 4th and last time of the day to find that my VP had sent me a request.  My sense of responsibility rose to the occasion and I set about coordinating the needed info.  My sense of pride too swelled to be so apparently central.

Tuesday came and I had to plug in my work computer to get all the resources I needed to address the VP’s request.  It took about 2 hours out of my family time unfortunately and I heard those awful words come from my mouth that I despise from other's, “I’m sorry,  I’ve got to work for awhile.” 

By Tuesday night I thought I had everything in the bag.  The VP’s questions answered, I was back with my family enjoying dinner.  But, as I headed to bed that night I checked my crackberry again and the VP had another question (quite reasonable I might add).  I realized that if I kept checking e-mail, the questions and requests would keep coming…and at an ever increasing rate.  I could not get ahead of the rising tide or even keep up with it.  Each answer generated more demand, every cycle reinforcing the need, creating addiction.

Over the course of the night and Wednesday morning, I decided that there were other capable people than myself who were actually on deck and that they would be happy for the opportunity for visibility. So I asked if they would answer the mail.  They were more than glad to do it.  I let my VP know which member of the team would be addressing  the issues raised.  And I said no to my pride and sense of indispensability… I shut my crackberry off for the rest of the week.

The time with family was well worth it.


Francis Wade / Time Management 2.0 blog said...

It's interesting to hear someone who got themselves back on the wagon -- what a profound sequence of realizations. Most people would have simply been on autopilot for the entire weekend, and then be amazed that everyone else was evidently unhappy... At the same time, this sounds to me like a mild case of addiction, with little of the fear that normally drives people to answer every email and voicemail within minutes. Phew...!

Jennifer said...

Francis - thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting. Better to nip even the mild cases in the bud.

Anonymous said...

speaking like a true gardener you are. Glad you enjoyed the family time together. At the end that's what counts.

Jennifer said...

pam - it was good to sow time with family - i'll definitely remember it for much longer than the other