Talking is the new writing –

spare us the spam!

We’ve all seen it happen. You go offline for five minutes and your mailbox turns into Mt Vesuvius– burying your schedule like you’re in Pompei  and destroying any hopes of achieving today’s 10,000 steps.

Unless you are a rigorous ‘inbox zeroer,’ even your most important correspondence is at risk of drowning in that quicksand of incomings. Sure, you could stem the tide using great email apps and tools like ‘unroll me’ and Sortd!. You can even reschedule emails to arrive when you actually need them with Boomerang, but that won’t help when colleagues and supervisors are clearing their own heads and desks by sending you multiple emails with requests, briefings, and questions that each need your attention.

In that case, you face a difficult choice: a) Return the favor by clogging her inbox with contrast-colored responses within each of her emails, thus leaving a ‘digital trail’ of your efforts or b) Go talk to her and sort things out in a single face-to-face interaction.

Whenever you can, choose Plan B. Making that effort to track down your supervisor and using the immediacy of an in-person interaction for a brief, but thorough update is so ‘retro’ it’s actually considered a novel approach that ‘demonstrates initiative’ and ‘shows you’re pro-active.‘  (Can’t you already hear the great performance review?)

In-person check-in

But why enter the lion’s den when you can more easily communicate from the safety of your own desk?

Well, if your own mailbox is overflowing, just imagine how hers looks! If she hasn’t seen you in a few days, make your continued engagement and presence felt with a brief, concise in-person check-in.  You can answer questions that you didn’t know you had until you heard her perspective – cut down on follow-ups to the follow-ups!

This is not the time to bog her down with long explanations or unnecessary details. Take along your prepared check-list of answers to her open questions and include your own questions to help you hone in on essentials.  Take brief notes on your and once you’ve covered the bases in person, send a concise recap email (write ‘recap’ in the subject line!) that can languish in her inbox for future reference.

Sure, we’re all busy, but see for yourself how a few extra steps to your colleague’s desk or supervisor’s office will help you achieve more than just your fitness tracker goals.

September 2019