A culture of urgency.

Mark Evans commented the other day on addiction to devices like the BlackBerry:

The Blackberry is a wonderful device but it’s addictive, consuming and, for many people, completely unnecessary. We all like to think the world is moving faster and every e-mail needs to answered in minutes but it doesn’t really work that way if you step back from the fray. People who have Blackberrys need to discipline themselves to check their e-mail once an hour or once every few hours, and resist the unproductive and annoying urge to check all the time.

The other day I was having dinner with my wife at about 7:30 on a Friday evening. At the next table was a husband, wife, and two small children having dinner. The husband was checking his BlackBerry every few minutes during dinner.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop reading the paper and I just noticed a twenty-something man in a t-shirt, jeans, and ballcap pull out his BlackBerry and quickly check it, as if something urgent would be occurring at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. Of course I am typing on my laptop in that same coffee shop so perhaps I shouldn’t be saying anything.

I’m a gadget person, and I definitely thought the BlackBerry was a cool device, but I have no desire to carry one. Those types of devices have created a culture of urgency where everything is critical regardless of its actual importance.

There are many people, such as salespeople, for whom a BlackBerry is beneficial. However, for most people it just becomes an obsession. The world is moving at the same speed as it always was. The email will still be there in 20 minutes so you might as well enjoy yourself now and then.

Finish your coffee and the paper first.


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