Help me JUST CLICK REPLY ALREADY.
July 11, 2014 7:06 AM Subscribe
I regularly flake on email responses-- both personal and professional. (I have all the comorbidities you'd expect: ADHD, perfectionism, perpetual writer's block, mild social anxiety, introversion, disorganization, procrastination/avoidant tendencies.) I'm starting a new job and need this particular behavior to stop forthwith. Short of completely overhauling my whole effed-up executive function, is there an ironclad system I can implement to ensure that every single one of those emails gets answered punctually?
posted by Sockinian to Work & Money (18 answers total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
Basically, in the event that I (a) know exactly what to say, and (b) know exactly how to say it, I can respond to an email immediately. Otherwise, I pretty consistently end up writing a few sentences, getting stuck at the undecided part (even if it's low-stakes!), saving to drafts, and moving on to something else. The next day, I'll remember vaguely about the email, but feel anxious and procrastinate... ditto next day... voila, a month later and I still haven't sent it and now need to dig deep into the spurious excuse bag even to continue a relationship with the original sender. Occasionally, I'll enter the crazy shame-spiral thing where I eventually respond, but feel so guilty/anxious about being late that I can't bring myself to open the sender's response to THAT email, so then I'm late responding again, etc., etc.
It doesn't help that I have a very scattered, interruption-heavy life (kids, etc.) and a profession that often lacks clear deadlines, both of which only encourage my inherent flakiness. I'm working on forcing myself to make and follow to-do lists, but keep running adrift on the sheer aversiveness and time-consuming nature of email specifically (owing to the writer's block, perfectionism, social anxiety thing), which makes it soooo tempting just to skip that item and move on to my many more pleasant, equally pressing tasks.
Obviously, the ideal solution would be CBT + GTD + a brand new brain, etc.-- but with limited resources of time/energy/money, I need to put off the full remodel and just find a stopgap for this particular, very critical problem. Email procrastinators of Metafilter, what can I try? Has anything made a punctual communicator out of you?