E-mail drives us all nuts. It never ends, it mixes with news and random, funny and business. The chains are endless and not answering one can cost you the job, answering one wrong can cost you the job, and not reading it well can cost us our job. And if it doesn’t cost us the job it can feel like it.
We feel as if we are the mercy of emails but we also keep others at the mercy of it. We get angry when people don’t respond, we get angry when they don’t read our emails and we send stupid emails to people when we should call.
For me, living with ADHD, means that I misread emails more often, forget to respond to emails more often and send bad emails more often. So how do I deal with this? I develop strategies.
- I create filters.
I have multiple filters and I try to organize the emails, which helps me find it again.
- Mark Important emails
I mark important emails that I have to act on maybe not today but later. This way I can go back and review them at least once a week so I don’t respond.
- Email Jam
My Google had me take a math test after 10pm and if I couldn’t pass it, it wouldn’t send it. This helps you not send a misspelled and misread email.
- Don’t Read Emails When You Can’t Answer Them
This usually happens when you are somewhere or waking up. Going through email in bed means unread emails get poorly read and may not be answered because you figure you will answer them later. But once read, you may not go back to it, and then you forget about it. So one way to deal with it, if it’s important and you can’t answer it now, don’t read it, save it.
- Have Someone Else Read It
If you think someone has disrespected you, or you are writing a long and emotional email or one that proposes something risky, let someone else read it. It will help get another more rational perspective on the other person’s email and on yours and will save a lot of misunderstanding.
Email is here to stay. It makes us more productive and it is part of our work. If it is causing you issues, find ways to solve those problems. How do you do it? Observe the problem, think of a fix, try it. If the fix doesn’t work, don’t give up, it means you didn’t analyze the problem right, make another theory on the problem and try another fix. If you do that, your mistakes with email and frustrations will reduce, for you and your coworkers.