The most beautiful email relationship I have is with a guy I met at a conference a few years ago.
We didn’t even talk that much at the conference... we connected on a few shared beliefs, but didn’t get to chat that much.
We parted ways after, and didn’t stay in touch.
But I happened to meet up with him a year later, and that time we did exchange email addresses.
We started emailing each other... back and forth... little by little (as we both worked in the same industry at the time).
And we quickly realized that we both get frustrated with this expectation that emails must be replied to instantly.
Like every email is an emergency.
We both agreed they can be a massive time sap.
But hang on...
I know that emails are also fantastic.
I don’t need to tell you about the benefits of email (communicating with others far away... sending one messages to a big group of people...)
We all know the benefits.
But I’m sure we all know the negatives as well: how many of you have felt the pressure of a growing inbox?
How many of you turn your back on your email for two minutes, only to find that ten more have appeared?!
How many times has someone chased you for a response when they only emailed you the day before?
And I’m not just talking about business emails; sometimes I get hints or reprimands from friends about my slow response time.
I also have friends who – like me – start their emails with “I’m so sorry (again) for my late reply!”
And I get frustrated with this.
Isn’t it sad that we have to be like this?
See, I don’t want my life to be ruled by emails!
I do believe that emails are useful, but I don’t believe they should take over my life.
So me and my conference friend came up with an easy arrangement:
Feel free to reply to this email, if you like.
Whenever you like.
No pressure, either way.
And you know what?
It has been one of the most enjoyable email relationships I’ve ever had.
Because there is no pressure!
No rush to reply.
No email judging me every time I open my inbox...
You haven’t answered me yet...aren’t you a bad person!
So I wanted to share this idea with you today.
(And I get that it’s not a new idea.)
But how nice would it be if you started incorporating this idea into your emails, whenever you could?
(Of course, it won’t work in every setting or situation.)
Imagine if you had an unwritten agreement with a friend, saying:
“You don’t need to reply, unless you feel like it.
It would be nice to hear from you, but if I don’t hear from you for a while, I understand that you’re off doing other things – and that is totally great.”
So a few questions to think about today:
I’m sure it’s obvious, but I truly enjoy getting emails from this friend.
They are a delight to read, mull over, and let settle…
And I know there’s no rush to reply.
I know I don’t have a deadline – a ticking timebomb over my head.
We have enough things to deal with in the world, without emails adding to the list ;)
Emails are just a communication method!
And yet, they can end up controlling us: owning us, and our time.
So to finish up, please know...
If we ever have the pleasure of emailing each other… please know that I am ALWAYS open to this “no rush, no pressure” policy :)
Because when you remove the pressure, beautiful things can be created.
When you take away the pressure, there’s just the joy of the thing remaining.
And isn’t that the purpose of life... really?
With that, reader, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…
If you like.
Whenever you like.
No rush ;)