The bloody phone hardly stopped today. It seems that in my role as admin/marketing/events/chief cat herder for a large Chamber of Commerce I have to be accessible at all times of the day. Of course everything is urgent. From having a great day yesterday where I actually got things done, the General Public has bounced back from Melbourne Cup day in a frantic, nagging mood. I've been lucky to get to the loo without the phone bleating.
If I turn the phone off for a bit to get some work completed, then I get emails which tell me about the phone message they've just left. One guy left three messages asking me to call the other day. I politely told him leaving one would do in the future, as I do get back to people as soon as practicably possible. I think I'm too polite sometimes. I refrained from saying I actually have a life, and two of those messages were out of business hours. I'm stupid enough to reply to emails out of hours if I check the inbox; my own fault for creating a rod for my own back.
But...has technology created rods for backs for most of us? Thanks to the wonders of the mobile phone and the internet, we are now contactable just about all the time. Who hasn't seen someone texting on the train (or, God help us, driving a car!), or even (rudely) at the cinema? Sit at a cafe and you'll be guaranteed people yakking away as they walk by or sit at the next table. We have made ourselves too available. If you want to 'get off the world' for a day, you face a deluge of messages, a flood of 'where are you?s' which induce annoyance in this little black duck.
Life was so easy when I was younger. The pre-computer days (yes, Virginia, they DID exist). The pre mobile-phone days. We didn't have an answering machine at home then. If you were out, you missed a call. Tough. I think it gave me a lot more freedom. If I was out and about and had to phone someone, I used a callbox. The postman came once a day with letters. Things took longer to happen; life was more relaxed. More frustrating admittedly if you wanted to research anything compared to the Internet Joy we have at our fingertips, but I didn't feel the pressures I feel now, this sense of people crowding me into a corner, with demands coming thicker and faster by the day.
Now there's social media to blend into the mix. I've organised a breakfast workshop for later this month with a speaker who'll be explaining how social media works and how you can use it to promote your business. Bookings are coming out of the woodwork. I think about Twitter and sigh that if I go onto it that's one more bloody thing I have to do on a regular if not daily basis; another 15 - 30 minutes a day to put aside for a task. I'm just a bit over it all at the moment.
Am I alone in getting annoyed with the expectancy that I have to be constantly available?