28 Days to Living Organized
Scenario: You receive the following email on Sunday night.
Re: Friday night
Hey You! I hope you are getting over that cold you had last week. How do you feel about getting together this Friday for drinks after work and then a movie? It's been too long since we've seen each other.
After reading this email you immediately:
a) respond with "Yes, that sounds great." or "Sorry, I'm busy Friday but can you do Saturday afternoon?"
b) Think "That sounds great but I need to check my calendar" and then proceed to check your calendar and respond on Monday
c) Think "That sounds great but I'm not sure if my spouse wants to go out to dinner on Friday so I need to check with them." Then ask your spouse, wait for a response until Wednesday and get back to your friend then
d) Think "Sounds good but I need to get to bed. I'll respond tomorrow." and then send a response on Thursday apologizing for your late response and hoping your friend is still free.
e) Go to the next email in your inbox with plans to come back but don't respond until Saturday with a blushing "Sorry!"
If you do anything but a) or b) you need to rethink your habits. I'm guilty of it. Sometimes I "check" my email when I have no intention of actually "working" my email. I'll read a note like this, plan to respond tomorrow and then get back to the person too late. There are a few problems with this.
1. It is rude. If this person is your friend, and even if they are not, they still deserve a response.
2. You might miss out on some great opportunities by procrastinating.
3. It's rude. That was worth saying twice.
Even a quick response of "I need to check my calendar and I'll get back to you by Tuesday" is a good one. And then... get back to them by Tuesday! Wouldn't you be annoyed if you put a question out there and got no response?
Emails like this fall into the easy Do It Now category. Just respond. Simple as that. If you have to do more research or fact finding, that's fine. But then put it on your to-do list and let the person know you got their message and are not ignoring them.