Hey, there! Welcome to my office. I moved the dog off the chair just so you could sit. This is an intimate conversation. Just the two of us confiding writer to writer.
So tell me, how many emails have popped in your inbox today? Don’t you just want to beat them down like a gopher-slam at a carnival midway?
Do you even know how many email hit you yesterday?
Are you loaded – I’m referring to weighed down and overwhelmed enough to make you want to get loaded on alcohol – with nonessential cyberspace missives?
Before we go any further, I think I want a cocktail, any cocktail made from Thirsty Jane’s book, the 3 Ingredient Cocktails. Just one drink. I do want to keep my wits about me. I won’t get loaded.
You don’t want to join me? Not a problem. I’ll wait, too.
Back to email. Nonessential ones – they don’t require an immediate response such as a final notice to pay the light bill to avoid a personal electrical outage. Still, those emails contain information that seem vital to my brain. Deleting everything would keep me up at night wondering what I missed. So what to do?
I definitely need a cocktail now.
*I’m shouting like the guy on the television commercials barking about a laundry cleaner* Email. Stop the madness!
I’m awash in emails with subject lines that begin with New or Hurry! as though in twenty-hours something will be too old, or if I don’t hurry, hurry, hurry, I’ll miss out forever.
The pressure of keeping up was killing me. How about you?
You, too, eh? Yes, you may request a drink from Jane’s book, too. I have all the ingredients downstairs in the kitchen. Let me run down and make our drinks. Pet the dog while I’m gone.
*Handing over a large martini glass* So, email was making me crazy. Here’s what did – haunted my past life. I utilized my Six Sigma knowledge as a life-saving floater.
What’s Six Sigma? Only the do-or-die rubber stamp required of each employee when I worked at GE.
Six Sigma uses the process of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control as an improvement system. Yes, I went through the training, testing and project-ing as prescribed by the powers-that-be at GE. Many of my colleagues complained about DMAIC, though I never did. Six Sigma validated what I intuitively already knew. (About my projects.)
What I do have is common sense.
My solution to email: give up sleeping.
That shocks you? You dribbled. Here’s another napkin. Wipe the drops from your chin.
No, I’m not seriously suggesting a boycott on sleep.
My plan: Five minutes every day scanning nonessential email. Use a timer, like the one on your smart phone.
Any email that doesn’t make you pause, hit delete.
Topics that make me pause? Avoid Common Pitfalls. What Bestselling Writers Do, Writing First Pages.
Anything that causes pauses, I slid into a folder, and then I spent thirty minutes once or twice a week for self-care. Self-care in this case is writing education obtained from the nonessential email.
What have I learned from my process? What goes around comes back around again and again, like a boomer rang. The topics that writers write about to help other writers really doesn’t change. How many times have you read, “You have to grab the reader from the first line”? It doesn’t matter what genre you write, a good hook is always a good lead in any story. So if you delete an email now, the information will return to you soon. Maybe too soon for your liking.
No. It’s not stalking you.
The other thing I’ve learned? Sometimes I’m not ready to hear some information and I “get it” the second time around.
Yes, I do believe that organization is an art. I’m more than proficient. So if you need individual tips on getting more organized, let me know.
In the meantime, how about another cocktail?
Happy Reading, Writing, and Deleting,