David Cambria, manager of law department operations at Aon Corp., has a great Law Technology News editorial on technology woes and how to fix them. One of Cambria's pet peeves: "Who hasn't been involved in an e-mail stream 15 messages long when a simple face-to-face conversation would resolve the issue in minutes. I hate it when technology makes me less efficient."
I've been thinking about this particular aspect of technology a lot because, due to a shoulder injury, typing doesn't feel particularly good these days. Consequently, I pick up the phone or talk to people face-to-face to get things done at work and at home a little more than usual, and you know what? On the days when I just say no to email, my work and personal life are richer and more productive because of it. I used to scoff at firms that had "email blackout" days, but lately, I think there's something to be said for reducing reliance on email.