Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Are You So Busy?

A recent email to members of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington from Executive Director Donna Tschiffely began, “We’ve entered into 2010’s fourth quarter and word is out that people are busy!”

So I’m not the only one who’s noticed that people are working hard, right? Let me add this: In my 30 years in this business, I have never seen anything like the levels of exhaustion, stress, anxiety, and just plain overwork that I’m seeing around me – everywhere – today. People are busy, yes. And people are tired.

A little light reading from Ray Kurzweil explains it all to me. Everything in our world is increasingly complex, while change is accelerating. Exponentially. Here’s how that's probably affecting you.

Once upon a time -- oh, maybe, 12 years ago -- your computer's operating system remained static for several years and was easy to upgrade. Over time, though, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs started changing your operating system more frequently. Some of those changes were nightmarish, but compare that technology tango to 2010.

If you’re like most knowledge workers, today you’ve got several computers -- a few at work, a few at home, and maybe one for travel. You’ve also got cell phones, which are getting smarter every day; external devices like the iPad, Kindle or Nook; video streaming equipment hooked up to your TV; several digital cameras; various computer gaming gadgets, GPS; etc. All of these devices malfunction, need upgrading, and become obsolete – and all of it happens much faster with each passing month. Very few people can keep up. Those who do can become “addicted, as this series in the New York Times explored.

Besides our personal technology running amok, everybody else's technology has the same vulnerability. It's cumulative in a way only The Rev. Malthus could appreciate.

How are people coping? Today I got the following response when I tried to email a fellow blogger:

Dear friends,

I'm giving up on email. It's just been too much, and I've decided I need to focus my life on creating rather than constantly answering emails. I hope you understand!

If you'd like to interview me, please send an email to xxx (at) gmail with the words "interview xxx" in the subject line (or it won't get through this filter) ... and please don't abuse this or we
will no longer speak! :) In general, the best way to contact me is on Twitter: ... friends can DM me on Twitter. Close friends and family, please call me if you like. Please do NOT email me or contact me on Twitter to promote your blog, or your product or service, to review your book, to join your network, to become an affiliate, or to do a guest post. I am not accepting any of these and will not appreciate being contacted for these purposes. I no longer accept advertising on any of my sites, nor do I do link exchanges or any other types of sponsorship. I am also not accepting consulting work at this time, as I'm completely booked.

This may be the 21st century version of retiring to a mountain in Madagascar to meditate. I’m trying to figure out how to get there myself.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

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