>You there. The one who says they are working when they are answering emails. You and I need a serious chat. Modern work life means work-related communications happen through email in the first instance, person-person second and by telephone third. But let’s be clear about that – emails are only a communication medium, they are not work.
Doing work means that you are acting on something communicated to you, and producing a result of efforts. This is working. To claim that you have spent x hours ‘working’ by answering emails, you are misunderstanding the nature of what it means to work. Yes, you probably do receive hundreds of email, but – BUT – they are simply someone communicating a message to you they wish you to do something about. Responding to your emails is not doing something about it. Forwarding your email is not doing something about it. Passing on the request to someone else is not doing something about it. You are only doing something about it when the person sending you a message is satisfied their expectation has been met.
Why does this grate on me though? It’s not about the blackberry culture we’re now in. That’s an expected way of working now, to be always connected to work. It grates on me because of the perception people think it gives of being busy. Yes, it does give the perception you are busy. Are you being productive or effective though? That’s a whole other matter.
UPDATE: Thanks to Sheridan Webb for pointing me to this questionnaire – Busy or Productive? – that can help you to consider the above for yourself.