To make my point, I'm posting this tidbit at 10 p.m. EST, instead of my usual 9 a.m. According to new research coming out of the University of Chicago's Psych department (lead by a Dr. Joseph Ferrari), chronic procrastination is no laughing matter in the United States, in fact it's bordering on epidemic. Guess what's too blame in large part? That's right, all the technological gee-gaws at our disposal; cell phones, e-mail, the Internet, texting, etc.
Ferrari points out that the little beep that goes off throughout the day signaling a new e-mail has arrived to the inbox is costing the U.S. economy $70 billion a year.
That's a lot of beeps.
My thoughts (that's why they pay me to pass this stuff on to you):
- Whenever I hear about something cumulatively costing the economy so many billions of dollars a year, I say, "So what!". It's not like it's costing one specific company or individual that amount. It's spread across, well, the entire U.S. economy. So, I don't think anyone is actually feeling that $70 billion e-mail beep.
- What are those e-mail beeps adding to the economy? Call me crazy. Call me madcap. But, I'd just like to point out a lot of business transactions and decision-making happens through e-mail. So a lot of those e-mail beeps are likely also adding to the economy.
- Chronic procrastination: hmmmm. Let me think about it and get back to you next week. Just kidding! I do think procrastination is a problem. Mea Culpa. And, yes, I think techie gadgets and communication tools like cell phones, IM, texting, social networking, all of it are great ways to suck time. The research makes a point there. But then again, ten thousand years ago it wasn't twitter; it was painting cave walls or making a few more arrowheads by the camp fire.
Last updated: Jul 21, 2008
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio