It seems that immediate email responses have become more of the norm than the exception. For whatever reasons, there are so many emails being sent and received between 11pm and 5am. It’s as if we equate immediate responses with “task completed” and “job well done”. Very often I find myself replying to emails then and there to get it done and delete it from my in-box, regardless of the time or place. Because of the speed in which people reply, I’ve become hyper-aware of some of the email responses that I get in return as soon as I’ve sent off my own. And when that happens, I find myself thinking, “Go to bed!”
I’m not always expecting a phone call or email within seconds after receiving my message. Of course, there are times when topics require immediacy, but my late night bouts of working are simply my own attempt to cross open items off my lengthy “to-do lists”.
This phenomenon makes me think of the game of “hot potato:” it’s off my list and now on yours. It breeds a mentality of “get it done and pass it on.” I find that more people, especially in event planning, would rather respond immediately with some kind of answer (hopefully the one I’m looking for) than have yet another unread email bulking up their inboxes and crowding their lists of to-do’s.
I’ve come across a clever tool to help manage when I send my emails. I think it’s a bit more courteous, and hey, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s happy hour mojo just because I’m working. This discovery, Boomerang, allows you to select the day and time you want to send your emails. You draft your email, select when you want to send it and poof…away it goes! If you need to revise the draft, you can still have access to it, make your adjustments and put it back in the queue. I use it a lot on the weekends so when Monday morning rolls around, I’ve got as many as 30 emails auto-magically being sent, freeing up my time for other work.
When my emailing habit gets out of hand (and oh yes, it does), I’ve come across another tool, Springpad, which allows me to directly collaborate with other people—colleagues, clients and even family. Not only is this a great tool to get organized but it allows you to create, save and share notebooks and easily syncs with my phone, iPad and laptop for at home or on-the-go. Being able to share these to-do lists with appropriate parties has made life really simple; I can add and delete and receive updates wherever I am, in moments. It’s so helpful, it has even replaced my dreaded shopping lists that I keep for weekly overhauls (which I would inevitably forget about until I’m physically in the store). But since we always have our cell phones with us, the set of lists are just waiting to be downloaded from our little cloud.
And who knows, maybe these tools can help you with spring-cleaning, whether it’s your living room or your overloaded inbox.
I wish you a happy Spring!