E-mail Patience is Not a Virtue I Possess

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Truthfully, I’m never as impatient as I am when I’m waiting on an e-mail. I can feel my blood pressure starting to boil and that’s when I know I need to walk away. Practice some yoga breathing and just plain relax.

In college, I got in the habit (due to the newsroom I worked in) of constantly checking my e-mail, all day, every day. Then refreshing the page and checking again. This let me be the first to respond to extra shifts and therefore more money. As everyone I worked with did the same thing, it didn’t seem strange. Responses came quickly and problems got solved almost instantaneously.

In the first few places I worked after that first newsroom, the e-mail habits were the same. It was refreshing to know that responses would come quickly. That way the original e-mail could be deleted saving precious room in that every filling inbox.

Now that I’m out of journalism, I’ve found that people check e-mail even slower. Sometimes only a few times a day. This might be great for their concentration and their ability to fly through projects without interruption. Usually, this doesn’t bother me. But when I send a rather important work e-mail with a single work-related question that I feel needs answered sooner rather than later, it irks me. It also irks me because often the person isn’t someone I can just wander over to their desk and ask in person, which of course I would rather do.

As I said above, when I start to feel myself only getting more and more annoyed that the e-mail isn’t showing up with an answer, I try to just take a few breaths. Remind myself that the person might be in a meeting or might be home with a sick child. This trick seems to work, but I do have to constantly remind myself.

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