I find myself having this moment at work a lot…tell me if this sounds familiar:

I have my Outlook screen open on my computer and I’m rifling through the (unfortunately) hundreds of emails that fly across my inbox and need to be sorted, responded to and, in certain more trying scenarios, “handled.”

I write a response to EMAIL 1. I am not totally confident in said response..either because of some logistical question (is this donation feasible?), a scheduling issue (am I scheduled to be off that day? who else can handle this?) and so on and so fourth. So I write my response, and then save a draft of it for later….for when I’ve thought about it and have THE RESPONSE.

I move on to other emails, but as I continue digging deeper into the emails, realizing just how many I “should” respond to I realize that I have started about 25% of a response to EMAIL 2 on my priority list and this starts to begin a downward spiral…

From there my commitment to actually finishing each response gets worse and worse. I start a partial response to five or six emails on bad days and think “there! won’t forget that now!” or something like, “Great, I feel better that I started that!”

At Kate Northrup’s recommendation I recently borrowed the book Getting Things Done from the library. In all honesty, I didn’t read very much of it before I sent it back to the library, but here’s the point that it drove home to me immediately.

FINISH THE EMAIL 1 RESPONSE. Close the loop. Complete the task. Your brain can actually relax a great deal because it does not have to keep thinking, “Just reminding you about those emails! Have you made a decision yet? You really should respond to those today before you leave! You’ll never remember to finish a draft of an email, will you?”

And of of course that thinking inevitably leads to moments where you end up believing you’ve finished the task! You think, “Didn’t I already send that response?” because you’ve spent so much mental energy thinking about completing it without actually doing so.

UGH! I’ve been focusing on this a lot lately because I really believe this habit contributes to a lot of stress I’m experiencing during my workday that’s not necessary. If you’re anything like me, the truth is nine times out of ten you have a gut response to most of the emails you’re hesitant to respond to. JUST WRITE THAT. 

Oftentimes, I need to draw a boundary. I need to just be okay saying no, sorry, my plate is currently full and stop trying to stretch myself in one more direction. Sometimes, I have little things I need to follow up on in order to give the email an appropriate answer and I try to do those little things RIGHT AWAY. Check. Done Response complete.

Less lingering and hanging on…more COMPLETE energy. It definitely takes some commitment to change old habits, but I highly recommend it!

1.) I am so excited to attend my good friend Mike Iamele’s book launch party tomorrow night. He’s also an herbalist and I can’t wait to try some of the drinks he’s whipping up!

2.) Today was the last day of Whole Foods Market’s 50% off Weleda sale for the month of March. On my way out of the building today I snagged the Wild Rose Body Oil. Pamper yo self!

3.) I just ate my first fresh mango of the season. It is candy. healthy CANDY. Go get one!!!!