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Shoot me an email



I'll get back to death soon. I promise. And now for something completely different:

I’ve decided to use email only in the most extreme instances of inability to communicate with people in my building by other means. I've taken to walking down the corridors in the prairie dog warren where I work. Three or four minutes of attention and conversation between a colleague and me are both more satisfying and more effective than a chain of emails. Mind you, i still churn out more emails than I'd like, mostly for conversing with those in other buildings or cities or those not where I expect to find them.

I'm taking this step because I found myself emailing colleagues in my own program who live seven feet away from my desk. I find that seeing the face of a colleague responding to me is important, so I've also taken to inviting colleagues to a relatively quiet space with plush chairs in the fourth floor lobby, which invites wonderfully digressive conversation lost to emails. I've also learned that the ease of emailing occasionally causes me to bother people when I really don't need to.

I'm polite enough to ask if people have time to stop what they're doing to talk with me. Usually they do, and most of them have appreciated the face to face discussion, even if it takes only a minute. If they're busy, I resist the urge to email and try to see them later. At worst these small conversations result in short scheduled meetings to resolve problems or provide help.

Perhaps the best result of this tactic is that my inbox has become more manageable.


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