Written by Garret Woynarski on December 1, 2016
Your daily routine now until death do us part, includes checking email. You probably check your email before you get out of bed, feed your kids or even before your morning bathroom visit. This says a lot about where the subconscious mind is being carted. Or how about the multi-tasking, time-saving effort of checking and replying to emails while sitting on the toilet? How clever. How sad.
Email is supposed to help us with efficiencies, not stress us out. Since the first email was sent in 1971 and the first live www. domain in 1991, our world has sped up. In fact, this farm boy clearly remembers taking a field trip to the University of Saskatchewan in 1994 and witnessing my first interaction of the www dot revolution. But what is your perception of email?
Two scenarios; Waiting for your vacation itinerary confirmation or receiving another human resource complaint. Both are emails, however one we look forward to and one we dread. Email creates a visceral, emotional reaction within us. People fear opening their Inbox, I have experienced this myself. Send/receive is the constant, our reaction is the variable. How many people rate vacation success by whether they stayed away from checking emails?
Email has benefits. I can email you to meet at 2:00pm tomorrow for coffee with some meeting details, and you can easily reply, saving both of us the unnecessary “How are you today” chatter, as there will be time for it tomorrow. Email creates a paper trail, so I have the details when I need to retrieve them, especially a hotel reservation or project collaboration. Group emails for a biking trip? Needed. It’s not all bad in regards to email.
If email is getting the better of you, here are a few tips:
- Stick to facts, remove assumptions when reading. Don’t assume it’s a personal attack.
- Your reaction to email is a variable; dependent on the time of day, mood, if you like me, on how well you know my motive and how pressurized your to-do list is.
- Have a file system for emails and related tasks. More organization means more control.
- If you are a quick responder, I will continually expect you to quickly respond to my emails.
- If the office vibrates with panic, you will too. You have a choice.
- Factor in email time in your cost per hour as an entrepreneur.
- Immediate email notifications can be beneficial or they can be a derailleur, you decide.
- Ask a calmer individual how they deal with the onslaught of emails.
- There are individuals who love email, you may not be one of them. So pick up the phone.
- If you are reading bedtime books to your kids at night, but thinking about how to respond to an aggressive email, you have a problem and need a new strategy. Trust me on this one.
Email is good, in moderation. Good thing you have the power to be the moderator.