Do you ever think about a message you’ve sent and wonder when you’ll get a response, if you should follow up, and get stuck not knowing if you should respond now, while you’re thinking about it, or later, but risk forgetting about it?
When your mind is occupied like this you lose mental freedom. Often you can’t stop your mind from dwelling on things like this — important but that you can’t finish right away. If you act in the moment and it’s too early, you follow up too early and mess up something about the relationship. If you wait, you might forget and it will preoccupy your mind.
I started doing something so simple and obvious most people probably already do it, but I didn’t, so maybe you don’t and will find it useful.
When I send an important email I’ll have to follow up if I don’t hear back, I also mark my calendar when I should follow up with an appointment like “Have I heard back from Sally?”
This practice follows the strategy of the book Getting Things Done so it probably covered this idea, but I don’t remember. It takes about ten seconds and frees my mind of worrying.
When follow-up comes to mind for anything else, I do the same thing as if I had just emailed someone. If it’s important, I put it on my calendar so I can forget about it, knowing the calendar will remind me at the right time.
If you have similar practices, no matter how obvious, please let me know, since I found this so helpful. Despite it seeming so obvious, I didn’t start it until recently.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book