I have been sharing out entries on my sidebar for a few weeks giving me pointers on how to catch up with all of the digital communications in my life. But so far? That’s all I’ve done. The emails still all go unanswered and unaddressed while new ones come in adding to the pile. I’ve read a bunch of good articles about the best solutions to this problem, but I’ve learned the catch that they don’t inform you of: Reading the articles doesn’t actually do it for you!
Can you believe it?
Turns out, I’m supposed to actually do more than just read the articles. I’m supposed to do the things they tell me. Otherwise, the email still piles up and people get angrier and angrier as they get ignored longer and longer.
I’m using the excuse that I haven’t decided the best method to take. I personally like Email Bankruptcy (Throwing it all away while asking people if to re-email you if it was important. Essentially giving you good “Start” point.) But, I don’t think that’s the best solution. I feel like it implies that I’m hoping your wants/needs are not important enough to contact me again. When in reality it’s just that (A) I have about 2 seconds of “free time” a day and (B) I’m really lazy during those 2 seconds and would rather soak in the tub than answer emails.
So, I’m going to stall a little longer by simply asking YOU.
1) Have you ever gotten really behind on emails? Did you rectify that? How?
2) Do you stay caught up on emails? How?
3) How do you feel from the other end? If someone finally responds to your email months later – what do you consider a “good” excuse? Are you just happy they finally emailed you back or do you want a good explanation?
4) Can you make up a good explanation for me to use? Something that would possibly involve me being preoccupied doing something noble and respectable. Like, feeding the world, or saving the planet. Something like that.
MrZ has had many sports-related injuries in his life. As an adult who doesn’t participate in organized sports, his injuries always relate to working out or running. BUT STILL. That’s a good way to get an injury, right? I mean – if you’re limping because of shin splints when you ran a 10K the other day…everyone understands. If you have to get a steroid shot because you pulled a muscle in your neck when you were working out – – that’s damn cool. But somehow, when you’re walking around with a stiff neck because you coughed too hard, you are officially the biggest dork on the planet.
It is only second to that time I strained a muscle reaching for a Kleenex. That was my finest injury ever.
I have more range this morning than I did last night, but seriously? I need a good cause of my injury. I refuse to tell people who say, “Did you hurt your neck?” that I did it by coughing. I’m thinking that it was a mountain biking incident. Except I don’t own a mountain bike. Or maybe I injured it rescuing small kittens from a quick flooding sewage drain? OR MAYBE…I chased down a guy who mugged MrZ and when I tackled him to the ground to get MrZ’s wallet back, I strained my neck. I like that one! Not only am I cool – – but MrZ is the damsel in distress! LOVE IT!
I have a Gmail account I use for non-blogging purposes. It uses an initial/name combo that I probably only scored because I was early on the Gmail train. Since my name is incredibly common, I considered myself lucky it was available and have been using it loyally for professional purposes since. HOWEVER – because it’s a common initial/name combo (think: firstname.lastname@example.org) I get a lot of email not actually intended for me.
I’ve been signed up for various services that I’ve had to immediately “unsubscribe” to. I’ve been emailed coupons for businesses I don’t use and newsletters for organizations I’ve never been a part of. I don’t know if people just enter my email address as a random one knowing it’s not theirs, so they won’t get spammed. Or, if it is legitimately a mistake. Either way – it happens all the time.
However, I do also get a lot of personal emails not meant for me. Usually they are part of a group email sent to an entire family reminding them about some upcoming function. Or a list of friends who get forwarded the same religious chain letter. Easy to spot as not being for me, but also easy to ignore. But sometimes it’s a one-on-one email intended for one person who happens to have my last name – but is not me. When it’s a one-to-one email, I’ll pause and consider emailing the person to let them know they have the wrong email address. I’ve been contacted before by someone saying, “I finally found a person who knew your email address and I’m so excited to be back in touch with you. How are you? Love, Uncle Frank.” I emailed him immediately. That was obviously someone very excited to be in contact with the intended recipient, so I wanted to let Uncle Frank know he has bad sources for email addresses.
Most of the time I just archive the emails and go about my business. However, recently I’ve been emailed in a group of college students in New York about some sort of Student Action Coalition battle going on with administration. I get these emails that say things like “Emergency Meeting: We’ve Been Suspended!” They’re some sort of an Anti-War group that is protesting something and are all riled up over the suspension of some of their members. It’s actually kind of exciting, but when they started worrying there was a “traitor” on their listserve, I decided to tell the head of the group that he was emailing the wrong person by having me on the list. I didn’t want someone to spot my email and be like, “Her! I don’t know who this person is! She must be ratting us out!”
So – I contacted that person. And I’ll usually contact direct emails, but what about the other emails? What protocol should I use to determine whether I should respond and say, “Sorry. Wrong Number.” Should I respond to all family-type emails even if they’re generic “Jackie made the softball team!” emails? Should I consider that the intended recipient might be sad at not getting those emails? Or should I just assume it will work itself out sometime at the next gathering when that person pipes up about not getting emails? What would you do? Would you simply ignore them all?
And most importantly – is it sad that I am going to miss being on the protesting student email list?
Are you going to lunch today? How about to dinner? Will you be eating somewhere other than home at one point today? Well – if you are – let me help you decide where to go. Go to Chili’s. Today, September 24th, Chili’s is donating 100% of their profits will to St. Jude’s Research hospital. For those of you who don’t know what St. Jude’s is – cruise around their website. They treat children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. They do ground-breaking research. They save lives. And no parent without insurance is asked to pay a dime.
But – if you need a more specific face – let me give you one:
That is Sasha. She is currently being treated by St. Jude’s for Leukemia. She has been in NikkiZ’s class since the day she started at her school. She is one of the many kids I got to know well while going back to the school ever two hours to nurse NikkiZ. Both of her parents are from Russia, so she is growing up bilingual. There’s hardly a girly bone in her body. Her best friend in the class is another little boy, and the teachers fear the damage the two of them can do together.
She has not been at school for months, but her parents are hoping she’ll be back by the end of the year. St. Jude’s is taking care of her now. And my family and I, who normally eat out at least once a week anyway, are going to choose Chili’s this week. And we’re going today. Actually – we’re going twice. We’re planning a family lunch with everyone and then we’re grabbing take-out on the way home.
While we’re there – we’re going to all color a chili pepper and hang it on the wall for a donation. We don’t have a lot of extra money, does anyone really? But we’re going to take our usual eating-out-so-Zoot-doesn’t-have-to-cook money for the week – and we’re going to put it to a meal and a cause that we can put a face to. Sasha’s face. If you have a Chili’s, and a hankering to eat out, we hope you’ll join us.
Speaking of organizing my life, I was wondering: How do you organize yours? How do you remember things? Are you one of those rare types that just remembers to do/buy/make/ things? Do you always come home from the grocery store with everything you need? Do you always remember to pack lunches? Do you always complete the tasks for the day in the office without needing reminders? Or – are you normal and need something to help you remember?
This is a popular topic in my home because LilZ sometimes shows the same tendencies I did as a kid and her forgets things. Whether it’s a jacket at school, or a permission slip, or to do a certain piece of homework – he sometimes forgets. I’ve tried to encourage him to come up with different “systems” to try to help him remember. He seems to get better every year, although I’m sad to say the most effective system is: Write It On Your Hand/Arm/Forehead in Permanent Marker. Hey – at least it works, right?
What is YOUR system? I have several different systems depending on the task. I repeat groceries I need over and over again in my head hoping it will help me remember. This is about 5% effective. But it’s better than 0% which is what the “grocery list” provides me in terms of effectiveness because I ALWAYS LEAVE IT AT HOME. At work I have a few things I use. I have a marker board, I have index cards, and I kinda use my inbox as a To Do list. (Bad! I know!) None of these methods – here or at home – seem to really help me make it through the day completing every task successfully.
On the way home Wednesday I said to Lil, “Wait. Did I make your lunch this morning?” Nope. I didn’t. And I didn’t even think about it until 12 hours later. That’s one of the normal tasks I do every morning, but for some reason I missed it that day. I sent my kid to school with no lunch. He had to get a friend to buy him a hot lunch on her account. It’s like I need a checklist before I walk out the door in the mornings. A list that must be filled out before the door will open. Why hasn’t anyone invented that yet? It would surely keep me from forgetting to bring my laptop to work, which I’ve forgotten EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. Bah.
So – enlighten me. What is your system? How do you remember groceries? How do you successfully get everything done for your child’s school (permission slips, supplies, homework etc) without becoming that Mom that the teachers all talk about as never remembering anything on time. (Yes. That’s me. I admit it.) How do you get everything done at the office without feeling like you’re running in place? Most importantly: How do you remember to FEED your children, since that’s obviously a tough thing for me to remember.