Is email making us stupid?

My mom really enjoys sending me emails that mock my technology addiction. Each time, I respond saying “Hello kettle. I noticed this email came from your Blackberry.” When she emailed an article from Entrepreneur Magazine entitled “Email is making me Stupid” I thought that was a little below the belt.

However, the article made several valid points about our culture’s addiction to instant information and people’s inability to deal with the constant stream. It mentioned that email volume is growing by 66 percent a year and more people are using Facebook and Twitter for work, making social media and e-communication “the way” to do business.

How are we supposed to manage this increasing volume of emails and find time for social media without it becoming a day drainer?

Simple, make it part of your daily routine.

For me, every morning I come into work and drink my coffee while checking email and social media outlets. I do this again over lunch. I keep my email open all day, but have it minimized so that I am not constantly checking it. In total, I would say I spend around an hour a day answering emails and managing my social media usage.

If I have a project with a tight deadline or a guest column that needs to be written, I put my phone on ‘do not disturb,’ close my email and block that time off on my calendar. These methods allow me to still have plenty of time to allow my creative juices to flow.

Some of the people the author interviewed checked email only four times during the day, or had their email open for part of the day. This helped them get their work done efficiently, but still allowed them to converse with coworkers and business prospects.

For those of you thinking “but none of these solutions will work for me,” think back to how you managed your time before social media or email existed. The ultimate solution is different for everyone, but it generally involves finding a way to manage the additional noise and making it part of your routine.

The endless barrage of real-time updates, emails and social media lifestreams is here to stay, so if you haven’t started thinking about how to handle it all, you should. If you have, I’d love to know what works for you.