Recently, I mentioned that I am terrible about responding efficiently to text messages, voicemails, missed calls and anything of that nature. I’m not quite sure what it is, maybe anxiety, or overthinking? Either way, it’s not good and it’s a bad habit I am hoping to break in the New Year. My goal is to start responding efficiently to everything in my life. When I don’t respond, anxiety creeps in and easy tasks overwhelm me, simply because I have continuously put them off for too long. Lately, I have made it a point to get better about responding efficiently and I want to share the tips I have found helpful with you, so that if you struggle with responding efficiently, you can improve too!
TIPS FOR RESPONDING EFFICIENTLY
CLEAR ALL OF YOUR INBOXES
Let’s just say that the title above gives me massive anxiety just by reading the text. I currently have 20 unread text messages, none of which are urgent, because I have had them for months, 16 voicemails, and 301 emails in my inbox that are read! I bet you are thinking, “Wow she really isn’t joking, is she?” and you are totally right. In order to respond efficiently, to incoming conversations, you have to actually get ahold of those that are currently in your inboxes, and those that have been there for too long! Begin by clearing out all of your inboxes. Starting with a clean slate is the only way to stay on top of your responses in the future!
DEAL WITH A CALL, MESSAGE, EMAIL, REMINDER (ETC.,) AS SOON AS IT ARRIVES IN YOUR INBOX
One of my biggest downfalls of responding, the reason I credit all of my terrible responses to, is not dealing/responding to a message immediately. The wonderful thing about cell phones is that we often always have them with us. This is great, but it’s also creates alternative hurdles for us to jump. I know I can’t be the only person who, when in the middle of doing something and receives a message, will open the message, read it and not respond?
Yep, I knew it!
You do the same thing too, right?
Chances are you then forget to respond to the email, phone call or text message, when you are finished doing whatever it was you were doing. Sometimes, you might not even ever respond at all! I promise you, you aren’t the only one. But we have to get better about this!
My tip for you is to deal with the message immediately. Don’t put it off! If you are in the middle of doing something and your phone sounds, don’t even check the message until you finish your current task. That way, when you are finished you will have the time to deal with the message in an appropriate manner. When you respond to messages immediately, you are more in tune with your emotions and the conversations. Now, that’s not to say that some heated conversations should not be left alone for a bit, then dealt with later. But for the most part, it’s a good idea to go ahead and deal with things immediately. You will me more attentive to the conversation and then you don’t have to deal with it later!
IT’S OK TO SAY NO + BE HONEST
I think one of the main reasons why I don’t respond to messages immediately is because I am afraid if I tell how I truthfully feel, I will let someone down. Maybe one of your friends, or relatives, wants you to commit to something, you truly don’t want to do or you don’t feel that you have the time for. That’s ok! Sometimes we need down time to ourselves, to help gain clarity and rest for our own lives. It’s hard to say no to drinks and dinner, or shopping on Saturday. If you’re like me, you really have a hard time saying no. You’re afraid that they won’t ask you to do something again, or they won’t understand. Sometimes other people have too high of standards and they can’t expect us to drop everything just for them. Your evenings, weekends, and everyday is yours. You don’t need to feel guilty because you can’t make a date.
With that in mind, saying no is sometimes necessary, and one of the main reasons why we put off responding to our messages. Be honest with them and let them know that you have had a busy week, or you just really need some time to yourself. Ask if you can reschedule for another date, or time. The important thing here is to respond in a timely manner. It’s ok to say no, when you respond to them ASAP, but don’t put it off!
EFFICIENCY IS RESPECT
When it comes to responding to messages, efficiency is both respectful and professional. Whether it is a business email, missed call from a family member, show some respect towards them and respond in a timely manner. I really, really need to remember this! I need to make a mental note to remind myself when someone contacts me, how would I feel if they didn’t respond to me? Would I think they didn’t like me, or they didn’t care? Would I think that I was annoying them, or that they just want me to leave them alone? I don’t know. Chances are, that’s not the case. However, you never know what someone thinks could be the reason you aren’t responding to their message. So do them, and yourself, a favor and respond to them as soon as you can!
I’m not here to tell you that you need to be a slave to your inbox, that is not the case AT ALL. What I am here to tell you is that you shouldn’t put off responding. It’s ok to say no, it’s ok to be busy, but don’t put it off. When you put it off, chances are you won’t respond. So just do it as soon as you can!
It’s perfectly, perfect to not be perfect and I hope that you will remember that.