Dear Email, Maybe It’s Time We Saw Other People
It isn’t you, it’s me. No, really. You see, this weekend I successfully unplugged for the first time in… in too long, I admit. When I fired things up Monday morning, well… I realized just how codependent we’ve become. I think it’s time maybe we started seeing other people.
This is for the best. It may be hard to read these lines now, but I must insist: this kind of relationship isn’t healthy for either one of us. When my daughters asked me what I did today, I said, “Answer email.”
“And?” My ten-year-old, Ayla, prodded. “Did you talk to anyone interesting?”
“Well, by email, yes, I did.”
“But by phone? Skype? G+ hangout?”
“No honey. Just email. For nine hours straight.”
She looked at me skeptically. She’s the eldest kid, so you know how they are: she treats me like such a child sometimes! But this time, I could tell, she had a point.
“Did you write your book?” she prodded.
“No honey, not today.”
“Because you were too busy answering emails?”
I gulped. “That’s right, sweetheart.”
“No blog posts?”
“Did you sell anything? A sponsor for Switch and Shift, maybe? Did you line up a speaking gig? A consulting assignment?”
“No, darling. Just email.”
“Daddy,” Ayla said. I could see the concern in her eyes. She’s only looking out for me. Well, that and she wants to make sure Christmas isn’t a letdown this year. “Daddy, I think you need to ignore your email for a while, and focus on your more important stuff. You know, your work.”
You know, that’s when it struck me: Ayla was right! It’s nice for us to read and reply to all that email we get – not the spam or the lol cats from Auntie D, but the work email. It’s nice of us, it’s polite, and we’re polite… right?
But that’s how you rope us in, email! “Polite” and “necessary” are not always one and the same. Politely answering email that is not from a paying client is a sure road to the poor house. We folks trying to build a business, well, we can’t be frivolous with our time like that. I know you understand.
In the context of Make, Sell, or Serve – the three types of work we all do, regardless of industry or job title – answering email is not Making (recording an episode of Switch and Shift TV, for instance), and it isn’t Selling (a Keynote, for example). So why do I spend so much time on my email? Doing so does not serve my coworkers in Making, or Selling.
Email, can we just be friends? And yes, I’ll call you, okay?
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Image credit: burakowski / 123RF Stock Photo