Many of my clients work in the I.T. industry and when I am presenting to an I.T.network or at an industry conference, the coffee breaks are always the same – women whipping out their blackberries for a bit a catch-up with work. Amazingly, the average blackberry user processes 2500 e-mails and 1200 phone calls on them each year. While they are incredibly useful for staying in touch, I do believe every technological advance has it’s limits.
I had a male colleague tell me how annoyed he was to be out to dinner with old friends while the man continued to blackberry over the meal until my friend eventually sent him an e-mail saying "Are you joining us for dinner?" In my own downtime I recently read a piece in the Canary Wharf City Life magazine which detailed "blackberry addiction". It seems odd to discuss blackberries in the same vein as alcoholism or drug abuse, but the symptoms are the same -
- Interference with your social life? Does it cause arguments with partners or provoke illegal behaviour (texting or phoning whilst driving come to mind) to sustain the habit?
- Inability to focus on conversations around you whilst blackberrying? And an increased desire to use your blackberry whilst you are meant to be concentrating on other things – current discussions or meetings?
- Feeling panicked or vulnerable when you are unable to send a message or make a call?
- Decreased time intervals between needing to check for messages?
Do you recognise yourself in any of these? If so, remember that face to face conversations are the best at building relationships, which is the cornerstone of any successful and sustainable business. Think about what you might get from switching it off more frequently – and therefore what you might be able to give to those who are actually around you.