Last week, I was really positive and excited about my progress in my one-touch email challenge. This week? Not so much. I ran into quite a few snags, and at times even abandoned the goal when I was feeling particularly stressed.
I discovered that when I force myself to reply via phone, my responses tend to be very short. As any reader of this blog knows, I have a tendency to be very wordy. But I think my business correspondence already hits the right level of extra words to soften messages and make them friendlier. Forcing myself to respond immediately and via phone made my messages rather terse and abrupt, and sometimes I didn’t provide all the details I would have if I had used a real keyboard. This was a definite miss!
But, I think it’s also one that can be avoided in the future. The reason that I was sending such quick responses on my phone wasn’t that I was impatient and couldn’t resist opening an email on my phone; it was that I was running from place to place and didn’t have any upcoming time to sit down at my computer and answer things. I think if I knew that I had some dedicated email time coming up, I could have avoided looking at my phone and giving a short response.
This week will hopefully be a little bit crazy than the last? Unfortunately, I am probably totally kidding myself here, since I’m busy trying to transition all my work over to a client resource as I wrap up my current contract next week. But whether I am busy or not shouldn’t be a factor in my productivity – it’s all about planning ahead to make sure that I have the time I need to GSD.
So I think my strategy is going to be as follows: if I know I’ll have time at my computer within two hours, I’ll try to resist the siren song of emails on my phone. If I know that I won’t be at my computer to respond that quickly, then I will force myself to actually stop what I am doing before I answer from my phone. I think part of my problem this past week was that I was often trying to walk and type. Trying to multitask by walking and emailing frustrates me with the painstaking process of typing on my phone, and it’s also just plain dangerous.
I talked to Adam to get his thoughts, since he’s definitely my most frequent email recipient outside of clients/coworkers. However, he encouraged me to go one step further with my challenge, and experiment with sending shorter emails from my phone rather than saving up for a longer response from my computer. We had a discussion about how I don’t see the partners that I work with sending detailed emails, and I would push back that they can get away with that because they’re partners 😉 However, I agreed that there are definitely some times I provide more detail than is needed when a quick reply would do.
It’s a bit of a difficult time on my client work for me to experiment with sending short responses, since transitioning means I’m trying to share as much knowledge as possible before I leave. But I can definitely try to do this with my firm email and personal email. I already like to use email as a quick response tool instead of text messaging, so perhaps it’s time I really lived up to that and sent responses quickly rather than perfectly. Challenge accepted!