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How quickly should you reply to email?

October 2, 2012
normal curve

I’m a judgemental email sender and an anxious email recipient. When I send someone an email, I judge them based on their response time: instant? slow? eternal? And by judgement, let me be clear: I’m not judging them on their email skills alone. Increasingly, I use email response time as an indicator of someone’s intrinsic [...]

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5 essential steps to online security

April 12, 2012

Today’s practice: Tighten your online security. You’d think that writing a dissertation about political computer hacking would make a girl sensitive to the challenges of online security. And it has, up to a point. But I recently decided to up my level of tech security, and in the process discovered some handy new tools that [...]

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Be the e-mailer you wish to see in the world

February 22, 2012
email on wings

How many people do you receive e-mail from that you read and reply to every single time? I’m guessing it’s just a handful: Your best friend — the one who sends you short periodic updates with a single recent photo, not the one who sends you weekly 2-pagers. The super-smart former colleague, now a rising [...]

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Leaning into online struggles

October 17, 2011

The fourth time I got a call from the principal’s office, I knew I had to rethink our school year. One of our kids was having a tough time in class, and I had already made several visits to the teacher, the classroom and the principal’s office. Not only was I worried about my kid, [...]

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Why I like to check my email

September 26, 2011

Recently I’ve been trying to follow my friend Leda’s advice on taming the compulsive need to pull my iPhone out any spare moment: the eight seconds in which the grocery clerk is running a price check, the twenty seconds it takes to walk to the bathroom, the thirty-seven seconds between ordering my Americano and receiving [...]

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8 ways to beat the urgency trap in online communications

June 15, 2011

In a thoughtful post about The Pitfalls of social media, Aleksandr Voinov writes Social Media exerts pressure on us to do things immediately and respond to everything immediately. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I like to think things through and discuss it with other people before I respond. Your Twitter and Facebook accounts [...]

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Are you a parent traveling on business? Here are 15 tips for taking the kids

June 3, 2011

When I first wrote this post in October 2006, LilPnut was only a few months old, and didn’t even have his twitter handle yet. (Who can blame him? Twitter had barely been invented.) Almost five years later we have lots more experience traveling with the kids, and are much less ambitious about integrating business and [...]

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10 ways spam taught us to focus our attention

April 2, 2011

First seen in 1978, spam has become the vaccine for your attention span. It’s the toxin that has stimulated our immunity system’s defenses. Thanks to spam, we’ve had to find technical, social and personal ways of keeping our eyes on the 22% of e-mail that isn’t pure junk, and to avoid the 78% that is.

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How many e-mail clients do you need?

March 23, 2011

Jodie Tonita is a lovely person. She is passionate, funny, kind to children and small animals, and an amazing hula-hooper. Unfortunately she was sent by our alien overlords to ensure I never do my actual work. As evidence, check out this message Jodie left on my Facebook wall: I realize that it is theoretically possible [...]

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Using your e-mail signature to fight inbox overload

February 28, 2011

It’s day 5 of my vendetta on mandatory e-mail replies and I’m feeling the pain. On the one hand, I’m as committed as ever to changing the attitude that every e-mail needs a response — an attitude that is totally out-of-step with every other channel of online communications, and a major contributor to personal stress. [...]

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Don’t try this at home: Implementing the e-mail vendetta

February 24, 2011

Today I declared war on e-mail. Well, not all e-mail: just the tyrannical assumption that we should all reply to every single message we reply. In a blog post for the Harvard Business Review, I called for a vendetta on the mandatory universal reply. That means challenging the expectation that every answerable e-mail will get [...]

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