Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Communication Overload?

This holiday season, I really felt that I needed to give my brain a real vacation away from my business. As an entrepreneur, it's me and my business 24/7. Maybe I should have chosen not to check my email. But because I have a blackberry, I was constantly aware of emails coming in, people posting on facebook and linkedin and new twitter followers. Everytime I picked up the phone and saw some activity, I felt a small twang of guilt. Shouldn't I be doing something too? Shouldn't I be sending out holiday newsletters, blogging, tweeting? But what about the mental vacation I so desperately needed?? I stuck by my decision not to work but was it really a vacation? Not at all. Because I was working hard. Working at managing all the guilt and all the "Shoulds." that came from my not working. I also spent time wondering if my guilt was a result of a poor business attitude? Do I have a problem with being productive? We all struggle with whether we could/should be doing more but... Is it possible to do too much?

I am all about communication. I work hard to help people make their communication more effective. But can we Overcommunicate?? Are we sending, receiving, expecting too much from electronic communication? There are now business owners who send out daily newsletters. WHY? Why do I need to hear from someone everyday? Just wondering? Most people I speak to about this agreed that they felt overwhelmed by the amount of "electronic communication" they receive but it's become a kind of addiction. How many times do we pick up the phone anymore? How many meaningful face to face meetings do we engage in? I'm embarrased to admit that I fall prey to this myself. Last night, I emailed a close friend of mine because I had a question for her. I repeatedly checked my email to see if she had replied. She didn't. This morning I woke up realizing that I never even thought of picking up the phone. The thought never crossed my mind!! How sad is that? And this is a close friend. All this social media and electronic communication is efficient and effective but I really would love to champion two things: 1) sanctioned, guiltfree downtime. and 2)more face to face communication.

Let me know what you think.
(Photo "Mail" by Claire Olivia Moed)