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Are You a Crackberry Addict?

Crackberry
I was at a launch party last night for a friend who’s opening an indoor golf facility in Toronto, and noticed that many people not only had Blackberrys but were checking them on a regular basis as if some urgent e-mail would need to be noted at 9 p.m.
Apparently, however, this is common behavior according to a survey done by Digital Life America, which asked whether having mobile devices such as a Blackberry “chain you to work more than they liberate you”. One third agreed, a third were neutral, and a third disagreed. For Blackberry users, the troubling news is the survey discovered they do, in fact, work longer hours. Nearly 20% work more than 50 hours a week (compared 11% of the general population), while 53% believe they don’t have enough personal time (compared with 40%).

As a Blackberry owner, it’s impossible to argue with the survey. The Blackberry is a wonderful device but it’s addictive, consuming and, for many people, completely unnecessary. We all like to think the world is moving faster and every e-mail needs to answered in minutes but it doesn’t really work that way if you step back from the fray. People who have Blackberrys need to discipline themselves to check their e-mail once an hour or once every few hours, and resist the unproductive and annoying urge to check all the time.

And when it comes to being home, Blackberry owners need to put the device away until they’ve dinner with your family, put their children to bed, drank a glass of wine and asked their wife or husband how their day went. When I first met RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie seven years ago, he said his wife made him put his Blackberry in a box near the front door as soon as he came home from wok. I wonder if he still does that. For more on the Blackberry, check out Ars Technia , Alec Saunders, and Slashdot, which provides a link to a radio story on the new workplace.

Update: For your let’s kill some time on Friday entertainment, here’s Rick Mercer’s hilarious video about the Blackberry helmet.

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  • http://passtheremote.wordpress.com/ Eric

    I also have a BlackBerry and I also use it too much for my own good. But I would add that one of the reasons bby users work more then the average workforce, is also that bby owners tend to be higher up in the workforce and accordingly probably have always worked more hours then their peers. I used to come home and after super, but before that glass of wine, I would check my emails and respon accordingly. Whereas now with my BBY I can sneek a peak at what came in, without having to leave the room and only respond in necessary. Although I am conected to my work 16hours a day (I sleep 8) this tool has helped me keep my personal life active enven if I am waiting for that all important email.

  • E Guy

    Mark:

    While I agree with your sentiments about the need for people to put their bb usage in check, I disagree with the tone of your post…and I quote “Blackberry owners need to put the device away until they’ve dinner with your family, put their children to bed, drank a glass of wine and asked their wife or husband how their day went.”

    No actually, bb owners do not need to do these things but they should evaluate their behaviour and determine if it is in their best interests from a family/work life balance. Some people have different attitudes toward their family/leisure/professional time and there is no “right” behaviour. There is a “right” behaviour for each person and each person should be sufficiently self aware (or should strive to be) to make that choice consciously…not wanting to put words in your mouth but perhaps this is what you meant? If not, the tone of the last two paragraphs of your post sounds a little condescending to me.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    You’re right: it is about work-life balance. It’s also about focus. The biggest complaint I get from my wife is I’m always multi-tasking – looking the BB, reading the newspaper, and trying to talk to her at the same time. It drives her crazy. :)

  • http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/blogs/techknow Ian Barr

    I always get a kick out people responding on their devices in bars and nightclubs. How many times have you been out with friends only to have them stop mid sentence to check an ‘urgent’ email? As you alluded to, it’s a matter of the user controlling the technology vs. the technology controlling the user.

  • http://www.creativetraction.com/blog Duane Brown

    It’s about a work/life balance. When I’m out of the office, I check my BB maybe once every few hours, just to make sure I didn’t miss an important e-mail. Otherwise, people can wait to get a reply from me because odds are that it wasn’t important to begin with. Everyone has to find out what works best for them.

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  • Magnus

    The BB allows me to not have my glowing laptop on all the time, following me from room to room or down in my computer room away from my wife. I can check email, type and maintain eye contact at all times LOL

    I’ve learned to turn it off while on the golf course though.

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  • http://www.technosailor.com Aaron Brazell

    I regularly get email from my boss at 11pm. It’s not that unusal. :-)

  • http://thereach.mpreach.com Ed Weaver

    My wife and I both have BBs – I highly recommend that. :-)

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  • http://www.acewigs.com Wigs

    Whatever happened to waiting until they call back a second time? That way you know it’s important enough to talk to them. This is how I do it and I spend less time than most talking and getting more done than most. There is no need to carry 5 weeks of communications with you. Just deal with what needs to be done when it needs to be done.