Sunday Mornings May Never Be the Same

My favorite part of Sunday morning is relaxing over a cup of coffee while leisurely reading both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times–every section–without that harried feeling of having to skip and skim stories like I do the rest of the week, or use the speed reading techniques I learned from my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Coughlin.

The Times-Picayne (Photo Source: wikipedia.com)

 
I even savor the smell of the newsprint, which combined with the coffee aroma, exudes a state of calm. But I am worried that the Sunday papers may not be around too much longer. And while the thought of sipping coffee with an iPad doesn’t exactly thrill me, I am reluctantly bracing for the future. Of course, it’s all about technology, which is changing our lives–granted, mostly for the better–and changing the media landscape at breakneck speed.
 
Within the last couple of weeks alone, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans told the world it will be cutting back its print editions to three days a week.  That same day, three other newspapers followed suit.  Like a tsunami, a few days later, a Canadian newspaper chain, Postmedia, announced that its three newspapers will be eliminating their Sunday editions.
 
These were not the first such actions, of course, but the pace of such change seems to be picking up speed.  The shift to online news certainly makes sense from an economic point of view. It’s just that it makes me sad and I would think that there are others like me that feel the same way.
 
But it’s not just about relaxing with the paper on Sunday mornings. It’s quality of content, as well as
quantity, with lost columns and generally fewer investigative pieces and features.  And add to that, perhaps saddest of all, is lost jobs.  When the change takes place at The Times-Picayune, expectations are that about a third of the journalists will be cut.
 
I’d like to think that in the biggest U.S. cities we’ll always have our Sunday papers.  But I guess
there’s a good chance that we will not. So as my psychotherapist wife repeatedly tells me, enjoy the moment. Sunday mornings may never be the same.

 

Roger Pondel, rpondel@pondel.com
 
 

Sleeping with the Enemy

Be honest.  How often do you check work email right before you go to sleep and then again soon after you wake up?

Android Email

Email apps are increasingly easy to check and use (Photo Source: rackspace.com)

 
Does the paragraph above describe someone you know? Could that someone be you?  According to a recent Inc.com story, it’s more common than you might think.  In fact, 72 percent of managers and professionals surveyed who work more than 50 hours per week check their smartphones every morning within an hour of waking up, while 62 percent check their devices before going to bed.
 
Such activity is not healthy for employees or employers, says Harvard Business School Professor Leslie Perlow. A few years ago, she conducted an experiment at Boston Consulting Group to help rid a small group of employees of the “always on” mentality. Each person took one night off from work by not responding to emails or answering calls from clients after leaving the office, instead letting other team members take care of any issues that came up.  After five weeks, the employees were happier and the quality of the team’s work went up, while the number of hours they put in at the office went down.
 
Steve Tobak, on the other hand, believes that a common sense approach to work-life balance is more realistic, and that one size does not fit all.  In other words, we must all make the decisions that work best for us.
 
I admit that I am a slave to my smartphone, but also believe it helps me do my job better.  I’d rather know at 5:30 a.m. that there is a problem awaiting my attention, so that when I arrive in the office I’m armed with information and have a leg up that will hopefully help make my day less stressful.  Just the same, knowing clients are happy before I got to bed helps me sleep better.
 
For me, and for the time being, that means sleeping with the enemy … my iPhone.

 

– Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com