It doesn’t escape me that there are those who have lived as if email always existed. However, for those of us who have seen this jewel of communication evolve in our lifetime there is a special admiration. How else would I know I was qualified to be a financial liaison for a magnate in a foreign country willing to give me millions for my assistance? How could I have ever known every possible cure to man was available for a small fee? I actually could have never guessed so many women wanted to meet me (and my credit card), or that ridiculous refinance rates were available for unlimited amounts of cash.
But, seriously (kinda), I do love email and have been a huge fan since it first hit the scene and we could stop pretending we knew what it was (even before we did). I love it so much I have learned to spam and e-market…yes that’s me. It’s as if my personal goal became to make my outbox, larger than my inbox. But, again, I do love email. It put an end to senseless phone tag. Remember, the good old days when you could call back and forth all day and never speak, or get an answer to your question. Even more, I love the elimination of the endless conversation when I just have one simple question (or answer). You know. How are the kids? Where you going this weekend? Why do you like the color red? You get the picture. Inevitably someone would have this great story everyone else was tired of listening to, and you had the great fortune of being next in line when they picked up the phone. Then came the education we all had to learn. You could not unsay email or claim, ‘I never said that’. We all had to learn emotion was void, abundant, or out of control in our correspondence depending on the individual reading it. You see, we cannot inject our emotion into our electronic mail. So in the vacuum, the recipient can inject whatever assumed emotion they wish into our meaning.
But, despite all these great reasons to love email (or not), our infatuation needs temperance. Being productive means managing one’s email, instead of letting it manage you. Technology is wonderful, but it nibbles all day at our productivity. (Add Instant messages, Facebook, twitter, etc). The most successful individuals are those who appropriate specific, and limited, times during their day to deal with email. Staying on task and completing projects becomes simpler when we have the ah-ha moment that our reply is not as important as we thought it was. Urgent messages are the exception. And correspondences that are time sensitive taken into consideration. But, just because you know something is in your inbox, doesn’t mean this second is the optimum time to address it. At the end of the day, you may find a little more time to enjoy. Or spend on LinkedIn. Enjoy the journey.
by James Anderson