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It’s Time to Really Think About Email

It’s Time to Really Think About Email
    Think about your relationship with your inbox.

    It’s gone on long enough.

    Email has managed to take hold of too many lives, distracting us from what we really should be doing by sucking us back into responding to messages coming at us on an ongoing basis.

    The technology of email is wonderful in that we can actually communicate with each other from opposite ends of the globe or from right next door with just a few keystrokes and a “whoosh” from our computer’s speakers, but it has come at a cost that is getting out of control.

    With new technology we often get so excited about what it can do that we forget about what it was intended to do. We start to allow the technology to direct us rather than the other way around. A ringing telephone gets answered because it’s simply ringing, a fax gets picked up because it’s just been freshly faxed. And so it goes with email. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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    It’s time to really think about email – from the inside out.

    Email is defined as follows:

    “…messages distributed by electronic means from one computer user to one or more recipients via a network.” – via Apple’s native dictionary application

    Let’s break that down in a bit. But what I found pretty disturbing from the get-go is the sample sentence offered with the definition:

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    “Reading e-mail has become the first task of the morning.”

    Ugh. Not exactly the most productive way to start the morning. But I digress.

    Email is an abbreviation of “electronic mail”, which brings us back to the term “mail”, which is:

    “…letters and packages conveyed by the postal system.” – via Apple’s native dictionary application

    All of this may seem rather obvious to many of you. But let me ask you: Have you ever stood by the front door waiting for the mail to arrive? You may have on occasion, waiting for a particular package or letter to arrive. But have you done so every day, checking every so often to see if the mail has arrived? Probably not.

    So why do so many of us do that when it comes to email?

    The instantaneous aspect of email has created a reaction in many of us that would be preposterous if we applied it to regular old “snail mail”. Trying to break away from reacting this way to email is difficult because it’s not just your own habits that need to be broken, but the habits of those who are sending you the messages. Trying to explain to them that you are going to be less reactionary when your inbox signals a new message has arrived is a challenge, and it will be a very tough pill for many to swallow.

    But it has to be done.

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    Rarely (if ever) did people let the postal service dictate how their days went. When the mail arrived, it sat in the mailbox until it was ready to be picked up. In some cases, it would be several days before you’d go to the post office to pick it up. Even if you had mail delivered to your door you wouldn’t always jump for it when the mailman arrived to deliver it. We need to start applying the same practice to our electronic mail. We need to be more proactive with it than reactive. We need to rule our email inbox rather than let it rule us.

    When your email program signals that a message has arrived, it isn’t a command to go and check it out. It’s an alarm. It’s a notification. You have a say as to when you’ll venture into your inbox. Once you start to take back control of email, you’ll find that going into your email program is less of a chore and more a matter of routine – a routine you’ve designed. Think about it: how many emails are sitting in your inbox right now? Why are they there? Is it because you’ve yet to deal with them and have no desire to? Is it because you are using your mailbox to manage what you have to do on a daily basis rather than using your mailbox as a means of gathering information to add to the place you should be putting them so that you can properly manage your tasks?

    Why does electronic mail seem more important than non-electronic mail?

    Sure, electronic mail has also replaced the phone in many cases. Yet there are times where we’ve “held our calls” when we’re doing something that requires total focus and no distractions or interruptions. Do we do that for email as well? We should.

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    Email Alternatives

    1. Instant messaging. Should be used when a response is needed immediately. Think of it as the phone for the 21st century.
    2. Telephone. Still works better than both email to convey the importance of matters at hand. Instant messaging is more efficient at allowing people to track conversations, but the phone is more…human.
    3. Social networks. Takes things outside of your regular email inbox and often works better for sharing items. As long as privacy isn’t the main concern, social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can keep your inbox clutter down.

    What’s in your inbox?

    It’s time to think about email as it is: a method of communication that is faster than most other types we have available to us in today’s society. It’s not something that should keep us from doing the important work; it’s what should allow us to have the information we need to do more of the important work. It needs to be used accordingly, both by those on the sending and receiving end.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on June 19, 2019

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

    Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

    It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

    1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

    It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

    Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

    When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

    2. Trust the Muse

    Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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    When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

    “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

    The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

    If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

    The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

    Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

    3. Remember to Be Authentic

    Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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    How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

    For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

    One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

    Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

    Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

    4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

    I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

    One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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    Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

    A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

    Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

    5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

    It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

    We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

    If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

    You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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    6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

    As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

    The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

    Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

    Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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