Archives for posts with tag: letter writing

For those out there with exploding inboxes taking up way too much of your time, check out TED’s Chris Anderson’s Email Charter. I don’t agree with everything written there or the overall concept of such curt email etiquette, but I certainly agree with #10:

10. Disconnect!
If we all agreed to spend less time doing email, we’d all get less email! Consider calendaring half-days at work where you can’t go online. Or a commitment to email-free weekends. Or an ‘auto-response’ that references this charter. And don’t forget to smell the roses.

For the jet-setting types running organizations and toting a smart phone into the toilet just to clean out their inbox, the Email Charter probably has worthy application.

The prevailing idea is that shorter, direct, more thoughtful emails are more efficient and easier to respond to. Anderson makes a great reference to Mark Twain in this Fast Company article about the charter: Twain once apologized in a letter, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Then again, maybe the charter is simply a way to excuse big bosses like Mr. Anderson for being jerks in their emails by writing next to nothing in response or nothing at all.

A few other pointers that weren’t included in the Charter are unsubscribing from useless newsletters, using tools like Google’s Priority Inbox to sort mail more efficiently, turning email off on vacation, or how about throwing that smart phone in the garbage disposal!

In any case, less time using e-mail can only be a good thing, so take a look at the Charter and apply what works for you — and add my #11 to the list, “be kind and courteous even if it takes an extra four seconds.”

Logging out now…

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I promise this isn’t a plug for the new and unusual owner of the New Jersey Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov. The Russian billionaire businessman caught my attention in a rerun of 60 Minutes highlighting the high life of this playboy and his new NBA role stateside.

What was remarkable to me was what he said about computers. “I don’t use a computer. We have too much information and it’s really impossible to filter it.” His desk was a mess of papers with no piece of machinery in site. My kind of billionaire.

The New York Post reported he doesn’t have a cell phone and writes his own letters. Granted he probably pays people to use computers, dial phone numbers and brush his teeth for him… it still left an impression on me.

If a Russian billionaire in the 21st Century can be so “retro” and logged off (all the time), well then so can I (once in awhile). This is probably just about the only thing we have in common, but I’ll at least be taking his lead on this.

I promise when I become a billionaire, I will do the same.

Logging out now.

So the main idea with starting this blog was for me to encourage others and myself to get offline more often. And in doing so, take up more activities that are internet-free.

So…My first activity: Write a letter. With a pen. And a piece of paper. I went digging for some stationary and a nice pen, wiped the dust off both and sat down to scrawl something out.

Having decided that my sister would be the beneficiary of such an act I quickly realized that writing a letter would mean skipping over anything immediate, because she’ll know about it anyway by the time she gets the letter. The result: a relatively emotional account of my current feelings and life situation. A blurb to her on Facebook just wouldn’t have inspired me to write in such a way. Nor would it have exercised some majorly underused muscles in my right hand.

I have to admit that there is something more intimate and of course literally, more slow about letter writing. The time it takes to write the words down gives me more brain time to formulate what to write next. And that I am writing it in my own handwriting makes it more personal to the individual on the receiving end, not to mention there is something physically important here too… I am taking something in my hand and mailing it so it will rest in another person’s hands and somehow we are sharing something together in that way as well.

Maybe my sister and I will make a habit of this… 21st century pen pals. Now to find a stamp.

Logging out now…