What trips me up most is my habit of scanning my inbox, often on
my phone, opening an email, reading it, and thinking, “I’ll reply
to that later when I’m at my computer and/or not in the middle of
this other project and can give a full reply.” Then I leave it
marked as “read” and forget about it. I check my inbox constantly,
but I only actually deal with my emails in a deliberate way during
a few dedicated chunks of my day.
That is me.
The other key part of boss-style email is doing a lot of email on
the phone. This meant goodbye to my old crutch of “I’ll reply when
I get to a computer.” I would fire off emails from my phone on the
subway, walking around at lunch, on the toilet at the office. For
the first time, I actually started using the suggested Gmail
replies, which are actually pretty useful in the sense of purely
That first Monday, as I fired off a bunch of not-super-important
emails, something strange happened. I felt… extremely good. I was
high on the fumes of efficiency. No longer did a little cloud hang
over me, the nagging feeling you get when you know you’re supposed
to do something and can’t remember what.
I’ve been thinking about this lately — that I should treat email more like I treat texting. A few words — or maybe just an emoji — and that’s it.