For further thoughts on reducing email, see Doug Cornelius’ blog post Email Deluge about trying to free yourself from email on KM Space and the comments string. And for a more lighthearted take, read Lucy Kellaway in Monday’s FT, Shock of BPC: before personal computers.
I have just started a 24-hour low-tech vigil to mark the stepping down of Bill Gates, who more than any other human being has made the modern office what it is. I wanted to celebrate his departure from full-time work at Microsoft by reminding myself of what life was like when windows were things that let the light in.
Last Tuesday afternoon, I composed an automatic e-mail reply that said: “Lucy Kellaway is in the office, but not on the computer. You can send me a letter, or ring, or visit me on the second floor.” Then I pressed Submit, but got a message saying: “Error. Database has too many unique field names. Ask administrator to compact database.” God, I hate computers.
I love them, too. I have no truck with the idea that they have frazzled our minds and shrunk our souls: most office workers seem to be doing perfectly well, as far as I can judge. Although I am addicted to e-mail, it’s quite under control. Twenty-four hours’ cold turkey would be no problem.