I’m Neutral-Evil

On my personal email I just type nothing, because I have a auto-added signature that says:

Chris Coyier
CodePen • CSS-Tricks • ShopTalk

Which is enough I think. I also have email accounts that are business inboxes, so in those (which also have an auto-added signature), I’ll put:


I’d think that the chaotic people you couldn’t pin down cause they would always be switching it up.

Emailing a Book Guy

I have a book about local hiking trails I really like. It’s quirky and knowledgeable and full of useful information. At time it eludes to some kind of online version of itself, but isn’t definitive, and the book is starting to feel just a smidge long in the tooth.

I thought, gosh, this would be such a fun project to build into a website. I don’t want to presume the author even wants to do that, but if he did, that sure would be neat. I was already imagining all the structured data we could build it around. Maybe we could find a sponsor for the project. Or only expose part of the data for free and have paid signups for more. Or have it be online free but have an offline app. Who knows.

On the inside cover is the guys email address. So I shoot him an email.

Hey [Book Guy]!

I imagine you get a good bit of fan mail from your fantastic hiking guide(s) so I’ll echo that: wow, thank you, they are the best.

I’ve been a web designer/developer for the past couple decades. I’m a couple years new to Bend and loving it, in thanks partly to your guide.

What do you think about turning the guides into a modern website? I imagine you’ve dabbled with this is the past, but it doesn’t seem like there is much of an online home for them now.

I have plenty of ideas, but of course, first I’d want to know your own ideas and how you could see this being of benefit to you. I imagine it could help sell books, help it live on forever, and potentially even be a small business of its own, and most fun of all: continue to be a great resource to people in a new format.

This isn’t a sales pitch. I don’t even do client work typically. I mostly teach people to build websites better. I’d be doing the work pro bono, and likely using it as teaching fodder. I just think it would be a very fun project and good for the community, and hopefully you!

I didn’t hear from him for like three weeks. I even did that thing I generally find obnoxious and sent a follow up email. That did the trick and he answered back.

We ended up emailing back and forth 5 times maybe. We talked about lots of stuff. We got into his life and business and all the good and bad of it all. It was fascinating for me.

Then it didn’t work out. Just didn’t feel right as a project.

Oh well, I’m glad I emailed.

Email Anxiety

I totally feel Katie here.

This advice probably doesn’t hold true all the time, but one way I’ve had success with this is just to answer one email. Maybe I’ll stop there. At least I did something. But more likely than not, hitting send on that one kicks off a mini sprint of answering lots of emails, because that first one is so satisfying.

I Tried Emailing Like A CEO And Quite Frankly, It Made My Life Better

Katie Notopoulos for BuzzFeed:

Seeing Clinton’s emails was a whole new can of worms — quick emails to her staff, as well as longer, formal emails to other people. She had both a mastery of email and a complete bumbling lack of understanding of it. It was a hypnotic train wreck, and I wanted in. I want to be the kind of person who just replies with a single word, or forwards an email to my assistant to have them take care of it — how amazing would THAT be?

I like where she uses “Thanks, but this is a pass for me.” A short and quick way to brush something away without investing a single more mental energy point on it.

I’ve tried that with article pitches before, but I find in maybe 2/3 of cases it comes back with why? no feedback? which doubled my guilt about the terse response to begin with. Sometimes I care, sometimes I don’t. It’s my time, after all.

Intentional Delays

I can understand the desire to totally strike email from your life. I find most adult life fantasies are about a simpler life. You visit some small town on vacation and imagine yourself living there, taking in the views, having a late lunch, and practicing your breathing.

A life without email is like that. Your life has become so simple that emails just don’t matter that much. If you can pull that off, hey, hat tip, you’re living a simpler life.

Some of us have work colleges. Ignoring them is just irresponsible and unacceptable. Accountants that need answers to close books. Conferences that need to stay in touch for their world to run smoothly. People reporting bugs that need attention and their time respected.

That’s OK though. Like the title of this site: email is good. It’s how things get done. You don’t have to let it ruin your zone OR let it take over you life.

Your email is what others think you should work on.

I use all three as well. Calendar is the winner for me in what takes top priority. Whatever is on there happens. Email is the winner for taking up time. I spend a lot of time there communicating and planning. Todo lists, for me, are a bit sloppy. They are just things I don’t want to forget about and I want items on the list to bug me until they are done.

What is missing for me, at the moment, is a more forced priority system.