05/02/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Does Friendship Trump Technology?

My morning started out well enough, until the doorbell rang. It was the contractor there to discuss the driveway. This would be the same driveway his guys had hacked up over the past few days, only to discover that all was not as it had seemed on the surface and, "Oh, by the way," he said, "we accidentally demolished just a bit of the wrong section." Well, these things do happen.

Instantly I know that my carefully conceived morning, which included a large cushion of time to arrive early to the conference, get a good seat and even stop for a Starbucks was now as demolished as my driveway.

After an hour of conversation peppered with such phrases as "concrete retaining wall," "rebar reinforcements," "structural integrity" and "I'm sorry," finally a solution surfaces. Now I'm late. Forget the coffee--I will be lucky to get there before the first session starts.

Murphy's law in action, halfway there I realize that in my morning madness I have forgotten the driving directions. I start running a list in my head of all my options. Should I turn around and go home? No, that will eat up too much time.

Okay, first obvious choice: call information, get the phone number of the place and ask for the address and directions. If they don't answer, just get the address and stop at a gas station and look at a map. Good plan, except after three tries, information can't find the location, on the fourth try they do, and I get an answering machine.

Undaunted, I think, "Maybe there is an Internet café around here where I could Google the information." Then I realize I could end up spending hours looking for an Internet café in an area of town I don't know. Alternatively, I could go into a coffee shop and beg someone to let me use his or her computer--no, too much risk of being arrested.

Finally, in my desperation, I call my good friend Liza from my cell phone. Ring, ring. "Hello."

"Liza, this is Karen. I'm sorry to call so early on a Saturday, and I'm sorry I'm so lame, but I need your help."

Fortunately, Liza being a true friend and great human being laughs. "What do you need?" she says.

I explain my predicament and ask her if she can please Google the place I am going, get an address, then MapQuest it and read the directions to me over the phone.

"Sure," she says, "but I have to find my glasses first." A back and forth ensues but finally the objective is achieved and all is well. I am on the road and on track once again.

Through some miracle I actually arrive ten minutes before the conference begins. I even have time to walk down to the corner coffee joint and have a cup of decaf. Clearly, my over-planing personality has its advantages.

Our first assignment in the first session is to write a short piece about technology and its impact on our lives. Hmmm. I consider my morning madness and write down the one sentence I think sums it all up--"Technology is great, but a girl's got to have friends."

Karen Leland is author of the recently released books Watercooler Wisdom: How Smart People Prosper In the Face of Conflict, Pressure and Change and Time Management In An Instant:60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. She is the co-creator of a new line of Productivity Pads from Time Tamer™ and the co-founder of Sterling Consulting Group. For questions, comments or to book Karen to speak at your next event, please e-mail