More Writing (Less Emailing)

June 11, 2014


It’s obvious that since having a baby my time has been spread thin. It truly is a balance – a give and take. If I put energy and time into one thing, it usually means I’m not going to be able to give my attention to something else. Prioritizing is a skill I’m learning to hone.

In order here are the things that are important to me:
• HOME // Jeremy, Fox, cooking good food, weekends with our family
• WORKING OUT // weightlifting, yoga, barre3, cardio, long walks
• WORK // coaching, client meetings, blogging (here and at Braid), letter writing
• FRIENDS // book clubs, coffee dates, dinner parties

Nowhere on that list is emailing, yet I probably spend a good 75% of my work time tending to emails. Granted, some of this is creative direction to my team, interviews for blog features, or follow-up emails with my one-on-one clients. But more often then not it’s reactionary requests – and I can’t help but respond immediately because it gives me instant gratification of feeling productive. But it’s really not.

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There are lots of articles out there on how to manage your inbox. Here are a couple of my favorites:
• Alexandra Franzen – she writes the BEST scripts for responding to tricky situations – from conflict resolution, to saying no, to how to respond to emails no one wants to receive. I’ve used her scripts almost word-for-word and they are magic.
Zen Habits – Leo Babatua is my favorite online minimalist and I love reading his email habits.

Okay, so reading about how to manage your email is great and all. But putting it into practice is another thing. The thing is, I need to spend less time emailing so I can spend more time blogging. Writing feeds my soul. Responding doesn’t. Writing reaches more people at once. Responding only helps one person at a time – and while that’s worthy I have big demanding dreams of my own that need to be tended to right now.

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So here’s some new practices (and it will take practice, I’m sure) that I would like to try in order to spend less time emailing and more time writing:
• Write first thing in the morning – BEFORE I check my email.
• Turn off email push-notifications on my phone
• Check email twice a day and that’s it / block off time just for emailing. (I think this will be hard!)
• Have business inquiries and requests go straight to my employees to respond to
• Limit my emails to just two or three sentences. My biggest fear is being misunderstood (especially in tone) and brevity in email can often feel cold … but I think I’ll be doing myself and the person on the other side a favor by being brief. I might even add a little explanation for brevity in my footer.
• Stop responding to emails that don’t really need a response. For example, I send out a lot of one word “Thanks!” emails.

Do you have any other ideas for managing email? What are some tactics that work for you?

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