Anna Belle’s Skillful Email

Anna Belle:

I began using email in the early days — around 1989.  It was fun, a bit like secret notes passed under a teacher’s nose. But then in 1992, I met its dark side.  First came listserv flame wars, then conversations that in hindsight were clearly too personal, next time-consuming avalanches in my inbox (over 100 per day at one point), and, ultimately, receiving hateful emails aimed directly at me.

While I’ve never sent any hateful emails, I’m embarrassed to say that early on I sent some that may well have hurt the recipients.  Certainly I was unskillful.

The net result was for 25 years I was afraid, at points even terrified, of opening email each day.

25 years! Terrified of email! I’m so glad Anna is confronting this fear and funneling it into self betterment by way of a guide. Feels like PTSD in a way, like a soldier in a war coming to terms with the fact that they harmed people, or may have, although I can’t imagine someone this positively self-reflective ever doing anything that bad.

Some tidbits from the guide:

As I open my email client, I use the few seconds it takes to collect myself and recall the humanity that lurks behind this impersonal facade.

Because most people are busy, I am as brief as possible (without sacrificing connection and helpfulness).

Once a day, go through “Top Priority”; respond in a timely fashion.

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