Now how’s this for a story. Last week we shuffled along a story about a 12-step program for e-mail addiction that had been created by executive coach Marsha Egan. That same story went on to circulate a large press junket, including CNN, ABC News, and some other name-droppable networks.
Well, guess who got the interview with her? Big thanks to Marsha for spending some time with our questions – she’s got a good head on your shoulders, and is pleasant to boot. Read our interview with the creator of the 12-step program for e-mail addiction after the jump.
Can you give me some background on yourself?
I am a certified life and executive coach having received my Professional Certified Coach designation from the International Coach Federation. I’m very proud to have been designated as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business, after having spent 20+ years in leadership postions in corporate and volunteer America. After “escaping” from corporate America I’ve been following my passion of helping others achieve their career and personal goals.
I speak professionally throughout the country on personal and business success topics such as improving productivity through better organization and running more successful meetings through time management. You can find more about me here.
What made you interested in email addiction? When did you realize that a 12-step program was necessary? And was it a conscious choice to have the same number of steps as similar addiction programs?
One of my areas of specialty has been time management and life planning. About six months ago, five of my coaching clients were all struggling with their inability to get out from under their e-mail. To help them conquer that issue, and to add value as a coach, I created a one-hour teleseminar that I offered to my existing clients for free on the subject of the e-mail productivity. I also offered this for a fee to my E — newsletter list, and got an overwhelming response. That’s when I first started to realize the pain around all of this. To date we have conducted 10 of these teleseminars, and have two more scheduled in March.
I developed a formula approach to helping people become more productive with their e-mail, and broke it into a number of steps that build upon each other. We consciously, but very loosely used the 12-step analogy, and called it an e-ddiction, almost as a play on words on both 12-step approaches and addictions. The e-ddiction program began as a tongue and cheek idea — a memorable way for people to become more productive–easy steps akin to a very recognizable program that people could refer to and remember to keep their email use in check.
What started as trying to give emailers a fun and memorable way to increase their productivity started to raise more serious questions. This “e-ddiction” terminology obviously started to cause inquiries about whether someone could truly be addicted to e-mail, and not being a psychiatrist or psychologist, I started to research it, and interviewed a number of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject. One of those interviews is on my web site.
How did email addiction start? When did it start?
While I’m not really sure, my guess is that email addiction started like any other addiction, people over-used it and became dependent on it. Technology didn’t help because it just increased the ease that people could communicate. A culture where “urgent” emails became not only accepted but expected and suddenly people feared that they would miss something critical if they weren’t connected at all times.