Staying with the practical this month, I’d like to ask a pointed question:
How much time and energy do you spend looking at mail (both paper and electronic) or taking phone calls that are not actually addressed to you by name?
My husband has very firm set of filters in place for this kind of thing. If he does not recognize the number on the caller ID he lets it go to voice-mail. If a piece of mail arrives addressed to “resident” it goes straight into recycling.
Same drill with email, if the subject line or sender does not immediately reveal the content; into Trash it goes.
My own resistance to this has been based on getting calls from people I do not yet know. They might be future clients, for heaven’s sake! Information not addressed to me in the mail could be some great new thing I might like reading about.
Well, my stance has changed.
As was pointed out to me, if the caller really wants to talk to me they will understand that I run a business and will leave a message. If it is personal then certainly most people in my life would let me know they called.
Why was I spending my valuable attention on interruptions and information that were not even addressed to me?
Everyone will have their own story about this. I know some people believe that they have an obligation to review and assess all the mail, no matter what. I guess it feels like they will miss something, or lose an opportunity.
Case in point:
My copy of the AAA magazine Journey which is in fact addressed to me just arrived. Hmmm. I do travel a lot, and decided to scan it quickly for news on airfares or travel technology. OK, that took 2 minutes and now it’s in the recycle.
I made a calculated decision that I could do this fast and recognized that if I stuffed this issue into the bathroom reading material, it would sit there for weeks. Better to deal with it and move on.
On the other hand I also came across a white envelope addressed to “resident” which had zero indications of sender. Silly me, I opened it and sure enough it was Comcast again. They apparently cannot fathom why I don’t want cable TV. This was a waste of my time!!
There is really no right or wrong way to manage all this incoming stuff. It might take some adjusting, but you can also skip anything you didn’t sign up for. It can be hard, but if you also learn to quickly recognize the junk, you’ll reduce the quantity you actually need to open and deal with.
If you open stuff just because it’s there, or just out of curiosity, recognize that you are about to open a Pandora’s Box. It might be fun, but is this where you really want to spend your time – especially when there are probably a lot of other things that really do have your name on them? Like people you do want to talk to and projects that are more meaningful that that Value Pack of coupons.
Get personal, it’s your own one life and the day in front of you is precious!