Email vs Text – Which is better? (The saga continues…)

In last week’s email vs text blog, I shared with you that my friend and I were going to experiment to see if he could switch from texting to emailing in order to stay in touch with me more often. (If you missed that post about which was better, you can read our email vs text debate here.) Each time he thought of something that he wanted to tell me, he was to put it in an email. He’d pretend it’s a text, but it would be in email format.

Here are the first three “text” emails that arrived from him:

“Black Panther opens on 2/16” – He wanted to let me know when that movie was going to arrive in theaters.

“Hope you packed warm” – It was supposed to snow in Austin on New Year’s Eve. I checked my phone as I got in the car to hit the road, so this arrived late whether it was sent by text or email.

“Standing in line @ Franklin’s” – He wanted to let me know that he was standing in a line at a famous barbecue joint.

Gee, I’ve really been missing out on this texting thing. This makes me want to start texting and turn on my notifications because my life would be more complete with all of this important info. (Yes, these two sentences are dripping with sarcasm.)

When we spoke again, I asked him how many text messages he received each day. He stated that he received roughly five personal texts an hour during the day from various friends and family members. I normally don’t go into consulting mode with my buddies, but I felt the need to help my friend understand that there was no “better” when it came to email vs text if it wasn’t helping to improve the quality of life or work.

I shared with him the same type of neuroscience research that I share with my clients – how the brain takes an average of 60 seconds to restart when switching tasks. So he loses an average of five minutes each hour at work just from switching from a task to check an incoming text and then get settled back in to what he was doing originally. That doesn’t include the amount of time he takes to read and respond to the texts. Let’s call that an additional five minutes per hour, for a total of 10 minutes per hour spent on dealing with texts. In an eight hour work day that’s 80 minutes spent on texting. That’s nearly 1.5 hours!

All of the times that he’d vented about how long his work hours are, he had never stopped to think about where his time actually goes. He could be done with work at 6:00 every day instead of 7:30 if he was not at the beck and call of his text notifications.

This revelation gave him pause. He’s now deciding how “connected” he wants to be throughout the day.

And we agreed that he’d keep emailing me to stay in touch.


How do you feel about email vs text or both? How much time do you spend on these platforms each day?


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