I'm a rambling woman...
March 8, 2014 1:08 PM Subscribe
Lately I've noticed it takes me a looong time to write emails- with a lot of time spent re-reading, editing, taking words out and putting them back in. I am self-conscious that my first pass is heavy on text - not good for conveying information efficiently to coworkers and supervisors. It's really getting in the way of my ability to be efficient at work and starting to show in my performance. What can I do to work on this?
posted by ista to Work & Money (25 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
In the past year I've moved into a new role that requires lots of "influencing" (vs. previous results-driven, technical work.) I spend a lot of time communicating via email. I've noticed that it takes me a looong time to write emails. Sometimes I open an email to write a response and spend 30min on it. Then I decide not to send it just yet, come back to it in an hour and spend another 30-45min on it.
I am self-conscious that I write in a very conversational (read: rambling) way- not effective for conveying ideas efficiently to people who have much better things to do than to read my wall of text.
It's not just at work, either- even in emails with friends, I find myself writing, re-reading, and editing for sometimes the better part of an hour or even going through multiple drafts. In one I just wrote, for example, I took the time to change the phrase "a couple weeks" to "a week or two". Even though those two are basically identical, I took probably five seconds to re-read the sentence and make a conscious decision to change it. This is obviously wasteful: I am not writing a novella, I am telling my friend I will see her soon.
So how do I cut this out? Obviously there's some underlying issues here: self-confidence in ability to get the point across the first time, my inability to focus on the important information and get to the point concisely, probably a healthy dose of perfectionism... I have a notoriously loose "filter" and my "social sense" was a learned skill in early adulthood, so I am constantly checking to make sure I haven't offended someone.
Unfortunately what I probably really need (CBT?) is off limits due to my current living/working situation- what can I do in the mean time? The thought of setting a timer for 5 minutes and hitting send frankly terrifies me because of aforementioned "filter" issues--and the fact that most of my "re-writing" time is when I (attempt to) take out 80% of the ramblings.
Appreciate any insight from fellow ramblers- tips, books, exercises that have worked for you. Thank you!