While catching up on the reading I missed over the holiday I came across an article about how to avoid common email mistakes the first week you return from vacation. At the first one I shot my hand in the air. Guilty as charged.
1. Prioritizing Response Time Over Quality
I hate a full inbox and panic at the sight of all those emails in need of answers. In an effort to get through my inbox I’ve been known to send off short and concise emails that lack any true emotion or compassion. Right now every single one of my clients is nodding her head. They’ve all been on the receiving end of one of these emails at one time or another.
This doesn’t always happen after a vacation or long holiday. This flaw can rear its ugly head anytime I feel overwhelmed or behind. My first instinct is always to clean things up before moving on to longer and more complicated tasks. It makes sense right? But it doesn’t mean I’m actually being as productive or careful as I should. For that I apologize.
I’ve been working really hard to correct this problem, but during times like this (post vacation, busy week, lots of things being tossed my way) I find myself falling into this old habit. I whip through my email looking for those that can be answered quickly, and send off my response. I forget the usual “Happy New Year” or “Hi, how are you?”. Sometimes I’m aware I’m doing it and sometimes I don’t realize until much later. Sometimes I’ve even been known to send a second apologetic email with a longer more compassionate response. There are times I’m aware of my flaws.
Now when I feel that panic to get things done I try to remind myself that it’s time to just stop working. The best thing I can do is shut down email or even my entire computer and focus on something that doesn’t involve connecting with others. Maybe I’ll write this blog post or take a walk or just go home a little early to decompress and start fresh in the morning, when I’m truly at my best and can focus on each task in its own right instead of jumping all around trying to get everything done at once.
The struggle is real, but I’m working on it.