I was just faced with that email. You know, the one that sits in the inbox from somebody you don’t have time to deal with asking for something you don’t have time to do. I don’t want to blow it off completely because there’s a chance that the relationship or the offer being made may be valuable but I don’t want to do anything about it right now either. That message had been in my inbox for days floating among the flotsam and jetsam of other message cruft until I processed my messages today and it was the last one staring me in the face, mocking me. To make things worse this was a follow up email asking for a reply after I had already ignored an earlier one.
I had a few options:
- Ignore it, and have it keep taunting me.
- Delete it, and probably receive another follow up.
- Reply to it.
With those options in front of me I could see that number three was the only acceptable course of action. So I sent a short message in reply saying that I wasn’t going to take the time to act on the matter right now but I’d get to it and send a reply in a couple of weeks. Then I created an action in Omnifocus to take the required action with a start date of a week from now.
That felt good. It felt like I had just given myself the gift of a week or two and had sent a clear but polite message that I had more important things to do and would reply in my own time rather than respond to any further badgering. The next step is to convert my message into a template for automating replies to similar solicitations, which I receive fairly often.
For me this is what Getting Things Done is all about: finding ways to blow away the annoying bits of friction creating grit so I can get back to the real stuff of my life.