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Old 02-20-2007, 12:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [2007-02-20] Twelve-steps to curing e-mail addiction

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (Reuters) -- Alcoholics have one, and so do drug abusers. Now people addicted to e-mail also have a 12-step program designed to tackle their obsession.

An executive coach in Pennsylvania has devised a plan to teach people how to manage the electronic tool, which some users say can be as much an intrusive waste of time as it is fast-paced and efficient.

Developed for cases such as a golfer who checked his BlackBerry after every shot, and lost a potential client who wanted nothing to do with his obsession, Marsha Egan's plan taps into deepening concern that e-mail misuse can cost businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity.

"There is a crisis in corporate America, but a lot of CEOs don't know it," Egan said. "They haven't figured out how expensive it is."

One of Egan's clients cannot walk by a computer -- her own or anyone else's -- without checking for messages. Other people will not vacation anywhere they cannot connect to their e-mail systems. Some wait for e-mail and send themselves a message if one hasn't shown up in several minutes, Egan said.

The first of Egan's 12 steps is "admit that e-mail is managing you. Let go of your need to check e-mail every 10 minutes." (Read the 12 steps)

Other steps include "commit to keeping your inbox empty," "establish regular times to review your e-mail" and "deal immediately with any e-mail that can be handled in two minutes or less but create a file for mails that will take longer."

Egan says she hosts no 12-step meetings but is planning a monthly teleconference for "e-mailers anonymous."

Michelle Grace, an insurance agent in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, said she receives up to 60 messages a day and uses Egan's program to make it less time-consuming and less stressful.

"E-mail had me by the throat," she said. "When you can't find what you need, then it becomes a problem."

Now that her e-mail is transferred -- some manually and some automatically -- into files, Grace said she spends less time hunting for them.

On average, workers who receive an e-mail take four minutes to read it and recover from the interruption before they can resume working productively, Egan said.

She also recommends checking e-mail not more than three or four times a day.

Some employees resist the lure of e-mail during the regular workday, only to find themselves putting in extra hours at home to clear the backlog, she said. One of Egan's clients said he had 3,600 messages in his inbox.

Part of the problem is senders who copy messages too widely and are too vague in their subject lines, so recipients don't know what they need to open right away, Egan said.

For Grace, relief from her e-mail addiction means she is not checking her computer every five minutes.

She said she has let her colleagues know that if they need to reach her immediately, e-mail is not the way to do it.

"I told them, 'If you need me urgently, pick up the phone,'" she said.

Twelve-steps to curing e-mail addiction -

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Old 02-20-2007, 12:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello group.

My name is Ezrunner and Im and email/Blackberry addict!

It all started...........
ZED 10
Old 02-20-2007, 12:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll be interviewing Marsha Egan later on this week to talk about her 12-step program. Keep an eye out.

Old 02-20-2007, 03:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Haha...I find it pretty funny that this came out today. released it's 13 Step Program to Curing BlackBerry Addiction last week! Oh well! I think we beat her to the punch, but she scooped us on the PR. We did 13 steps as 12 just wasn't enough - didn't work for us.

can't post URLS yet, so you'll have to C&P

Here was our text version of it. Posted February 12th:

The 13 Steps to Breaking a CrackBerry Addiction

1. Admit we were powerless over our CrackBerries xxx8212; that our lives have become unmanageable without the little gadgets and that, like Pavlovian dogs, we are slaves to its bleeps, vibrations, buzzes and rings.

2. Admit to the universe, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our CrackBerry addiction. Admit that while you might look like youxxx8217;re praying you are really just texting someone about that chick in HR/guy in the mail room. That you donxxx8217;t respond to your children unless they vibrate first. That your spouse communicates with you during lovemaking through e-mail -- xxx8216;To: Bob Smith. From: Wife. Subject: Left a little bit.xxx8217;

3. We must come to believe that only the greater power of wireless-lessness can restore us to sanity.

4. We must make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the power of unconnectedness and eschew knowing if someone is mailing us at this very minute.

5. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of our CrackBerry use xxx8211; do we shamelessly put our BlackBerries on the table in a bar to present a false sense of importance; do we drive and compose e-mail at the same; do we rudely ignore our co-workers, loved ones and children in order to take that xxx8220;important callxxx8221; from Ron, the lounge lizard from accounts?

6. Make a list of all persons we have harmed through our rudeness, inconsideration and pretentious self-involvement, and make amends to them all. Sincerely and in person, not via text message -- xxx8216;sory 4 bng a rde bstrd. wnt hppn agn.xxx8217;

7. Turn off the CrackBerry. Now. No xxx8220;Ixxx8217;m expecting an important call.xxx8221; No xxx8220;My life depends on Shirley getting me those numbers.xxx8221; No xxx8220;Ixxx8217;m almost finished my Sudoko game.xxx8221; Turn it off now. Stop looking at it expectantly. Seriously, stop.

8. Realize that you are not the center of the universe. If someone canxxx8217;t get a hold of you they will have to wait. That waiting is a natural state. That failure to reach you 24/7 will not mean the end of the world. The universe will not implode, the apocalypse will not happen if Ron/Jeanie doesnxxx8217;t get a hold of you and has to wait until lunch time to find out if you got lucky with that chick from HR/guy from the mail room.

9. Set limits on BlackBerry use. Use only during business hours. Lock it up when on vacation xxx8211; you canxxx8217;t do anything from Cabo anyway. Turn off the vibration feature. Yes girls this means you too. Set a time to review e-mail. Donxxx8217;t set that time when you are operating a vehicle.

10. Turn off the BlackBerry during all meetings, classes, presentations, weddings and funerals. No one wants you to interrupt the eulogy. Especially if you are giving it.

11. Know that the world actually functioned before BlackBerries and that people managed to survive with ancient tools like phones and desktop computers. While it was a long time ago (circa 2005) there are people still alive who remember this time. Seek out these people and ask them about life back then. And take their advice and learn from them.

12. Having fulfilled these steps know that you control the CrackBerry. It does not control you. That access is a two-way street. That it is a tool, not a chain. That you can relate to actual human beings too.

13. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, carry this message to all CrackBerry addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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