In the last few years I’ve started a habit. A simple habit. And I have been a bit surprised how helpful it has been. This is the habit.
I write an email or a post for social media, I wait a day before I send it.
I try to do this for the important and the trivial, for the serious and the funny, for the routine and the one-of-a-kind. By the time the next day rolls around, usually I’ve thought of something else I wanted to add, how to say something better, or decided what should be deleted. And if not, I still retrieve the draft, review it, and usually see things I want to say differently. Very few are sent out into the wide world in their primordial form.
Yes, yes, there are exceptions. I still tend to send text messages right away and respond the same day to anything with a near-term deadline. But otherwise, I try to wait.
Social media, email, news media, and smart phonyism all want to force on me an unnecessary load of urgency. Yet almost always there is no need to hurry.
does several things for me. It keeps life in perspective. The quality of my communication improves. I free myself from a feeling of being enslaved by the tools that are supposed to serve me.
Certainly waiting is right when we are agitated or want to shoot off a witty retort. Getting in the habit of waiting even with everyday messages helps me not pull the trigger too quickly when I read something upsetting.
Waiting to send. A pause. A break. A breath. A little way to improve life.
Photo credits: Andrew Le Peau, Colter Bay and Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons