Monday, December 22, 2008

Zzzmailing -- a new late-night culprit?!!

We’ve all heard of sleep walking, sleep talking, and even sleep eating, but now there’s a new late-night culprit – sleep e-mailing, or zzzmailing, as it’s now been dubbed.

The first reported case, as told by the University of Toledo to the Telegraph, involved a 44-year-old woman getting up two hours after she’d gone to sleep, logging on to her computer, and e-mailing her friends to invite them to a wine and caviar party. The woman didn’t realize what she’d done until a friend accepted her invitation.

What this says to me is that e-mail use has clearly become a deeply-ingrained habit. The constant connectivity offered by email and PDA tools has people logging on so frequently that we’re even starting to do it in our sleep.

While people have been sleepwalking for ages, reports are only now beginning to surface about sleepers undertaking complex, detailed tasks – such as logging onto computers to send emails. Egan, an internationally renowned e-mail productivity expert, finds this new trend disturbing because, even though this may be an amusing anecdote, this says something very real about the extent to which e-mail has become a part of our lives.

We need to take steps to break the habits of e-mail addiction and misuse. We need to take charge of our inboxes instead of letting them take charge of us.
To read the complete Telegraph article, visit

Monday, December 15, 2008

Work induced ADD?

More interesting "stuff" from "Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"

by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006

"Over the past decade, psychiatrist Edward Hallowell has seen a tenfold rise in the number of patients with symptoms that closely resemble those of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), but of a work-induced variety.

“They complained that they were more irritable than they wanted to be. Their productivity was declining. They couldn’t get organised.”

Hallowell and his frequent collaborator, Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, believe that the neurochemistry of addiction may underlie the compulsive use of cell phones, computers and blackberrys.

Psychologists call the increasingly common addiction to web-based activity ‘online compulsive disorder,’ Hallowell calls it ‘screen sucking’." THAT'S a label!

Here's the link to the press release:

Friday, December 12, 2008

And you think Email interruptions aren't costly?

This is the most recent survey we could find... we can only assume the numbers are growing.

"Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"
by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006
Here is an excerpt:

Interruptions consume 2.1 hours a day or 28% of the workday and cost American economy $588 billion a year, a 2005 survey showed.

The survey by Basex, an information technology research firm, found that the time lost for productivity included not only unimportant interruptions and distractions but also recovery time associated with getting back on the task.

The survey reported in an issue of Time Magazine, was based on study of 1,000 office workers.

Estimating an average salary of $21 an hour for knowledge workers, those who perform tasks involving information, Basex calculated that workplace interruptions cost the US economy $588 billion a year.

A team led by Gloria Mark and Victor Gonzalez of the University of California at Irvine tracked 36 office workers and found that the employees devoted an average of just 11 minutes to a project before the ping of an e-mail, the ring of the phone or a knock on the cubicle pulled them in another direction.

Once they were interrupted, it took, on average, 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they managed to do so at all that day, Time reports. Workers in the study were juggling an average of 12 projects apiece, a situation one subject described as ‘constant, multitasking craziness.’

The five biggest causes of interruption in descending order, according to Gloria Mark of the University of California, were: a colleague stopping by, worker being called away from the desk (or leaving voluntarily), arrival of new e-mail, worker doing another task on the computer and a phone call