Slow E-mail and Juicy Conversations

Nod if you've had this feeling before.

You've just sent off a thoroughly answered e-mail and you're riding high on a satisfying sense of completion. Until the dreaded happens...

You get a quick reply. Too fast.

Instantly, your moment is shattered as that e-mail comes volleying right back into your inbox and back on to your to-do list. (How rude! Am I right?)

That's why I wanted to share my slow e-mail philosophy. If you've ever felt afraid or anxious to check your e-mail -- this is for you.

I first starting observing my approach to email when I noticed that e-mails felt menacing. Whether I'd happen to see one come in or be anticipating one, I'd become agitated about how and when I'd respond. The e-mail's presence was always lurking.

When you want to be spending portions of your day in flow with work, external inputs like e-mail are the curse of completion. By setting and modeling professional boundaries with e-mail, I'm more at ease and focused on what really matters to me in my day. 

So, here's how to adopt your slow e-mail policy right now.


1. Put important work first. 

For me, the important work is content creation and business development. And, also a set of daily practices that I’ve ritualized to stay in touch, activated and joyful: I move, I write, I meditate, and I make a connection with someone else. What is your important work?

2. Reply when you're ready.

By responding only when I’ve actually read and thought about the content of the e-mail, it saves time and confusion. No one wants you to reply when you haven’t actually given attention to what they were writing and/or asking. And, this is basic but too often overlooked: Set expectations for responses by saying what you're going to do and by when, and then do it.

3. Set the precedent that when an ‘out of office’ is on, it's because you're not available.

When I’m really excited about what just happened in my inbox, I may respond, but my commitment is to being offline and away when I say I am.

Slow e-mail will increase your professional cred AND help you connect on a more human level.

And, the greatest unspoken benefit of slow e-mail?

When you put your energy into what matters most to you, what matters most to you naturally thrives.

When people realize that you do cool things other than respond to e-mails like a robot, they'll want to know where you've been, what you've been up to, and your conscious pause creates the possibility for so many more interesting conversations about life, work and all the really juicy details in between. By doing it my way, the slow way, I've been able to discover and connect with others in ways that resonate.

So, take it slow, yah?--

Mara