Our Dangerous E-Mail Addiction

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With the economy in trouble, job security has become a major fear for many people. As a result, the need to be in contact with your workplace 24/7 has led to a growing trend of e-mail addiction, according to a report conducted by Osterman Research (PDF) for the IT data recovery firm Neverfail.

Artwork: Chip Taylor

Though there are ways to help kick your e-mail habits, the problem is much worse and dangerous than we had originally thought, Neverfail says, describing some worrisome trends in how people manage their e-mail outside of work hours.

Among the trends noted by Neverfail:

- 94 percent of those polled use phones to send e-mail or text messages during work nights or on weekends.

- 80 percent never leave their cell phone at home while on vacation.

- 11 percent sent e-mail messages while engaged in "intimate behavior."

- 40 percent sent e-mails while on commercial flights when the plane was in the air.

- 77 percent sent e-mails while driving.

- 79 percent sent e-mails while in the bathroom.

Most frightening are the high percentage of people e-mailing while on flights (which is against airplane regulations) and while driving (which is just plain crazy). I don't care how important an e-mail may seem, it's not worth risking your life over.

What's also frightening is seeing how little downtime these trends leave for people. A dangerous workaholic mentality has been formed based on the fear of losing your job if you are not available via e-mail at all times. Sometimes you need to just take a break. People need to be able to take a step back from their busy lives, take a deep breath, and allow for some relaxation time to unwind.

It might seem more productive to just keep working and working, but eventually you burn out and then you won't be able to get any work done. Sometimes it is better to allow for breaks in your work so that you don't over do it and can keep on working.

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