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My mum and I used to joke that there were about three hours in every day when we were both alert enough to have a real conversation.
I’m a night owl. Back when I lived with my parents, I wasn’t coherent until about midday.
Mum’s the exact opposite. At 6am she’s bright as a yellow highlighter, but by 3pm her ink is drying up and when you scrape her across the page…
OK, that metaphor got away from me. But you get the drift.
Like, seriously, seven messages. Minimum.
Another thing about my mum: she sends a lot of text messages. I spend most of my time in a different room to my mobile phone, so by the time I pick it up and spot today’s seven messages from mum, she’s fast asleep in bed.
For a long time, I’d think “Oh, I don’t want to wake her. I’d better wait until tomorrow.” But of course by tomorrow I would forget about the texts.
Then I discovered that I can schedule text messages in advance. I can type out my message at 10pm, and set it to send early in the morning. Through the magic of technology, I can communicate to my mum when I’m still asleep and she’s bright and chipper.
So that got me thinking: what other things could I schedule in advance?
Schedule your emails
I’ve been using Boomerang for over a year now, to schedule emails. Boomerang has some really awesome, obvious features, but I’ve really been enjoying the less-obvious benefits of scheduling emails in advance:
- I can secretly write emails outside of office hours (see above re: night owl) but schedule them to be sent to clients within office hours. This makes me look more professional, and helps to establish the expectation that I’m not available 100% of the time.
- I tend to get sucked into real-time email conversations with some of my friends, which isn’t great for productivity. If I notice that they’re online and want to reply to an ongoing email thread, I can schedule my reply to send in an hour’s time when I won’t have my inbox open anymore. Temptation: thwarted.
- If I know someone’s daily rhythm and want a fairly speedy response, I can schedule an email to get sent right when I know they’ll have their inbox open. I’ve got a pretty good idea of my people’s email schedules. One of my people doesn’t check her emails between 3 and 7, but is back online at 8pm. Another only checks her emails before 9am. Right when they’re just opening their inbox to see what’s new, BAM. There’s my email, at the top of their inbox.
(Hot tip: if you’re not sure exactly when someone is online, but want to make sure your message is noticed, the best time of day to send email is just before 9am. At that time, most people are either wrapping up their morning email check, or just about to start.)
Schedule your friendship
Scheduling emails or text messages is also a great way to be a better friend by saying the right things at the right time. I’m terrible at sending messages throughout the day, because I have a tendency to really get sucked into whatever work I’m doing and forget that the rest of the world exists.
So I schedule those things in advance.
I’ll check my calendar on Tuesday, notice it’s a friend’s birthday on Thursday, and schedule a “Happy birthday!” email gif in advance. I’ll be chatting to a brother and hear he has a job interview on Monday, and will schedule a “How did the job interview go?” text for Monday evening.
So, there you have it. Scheduling texts and emails is AWESOME. It can help you be more professional, more in touch with your loved ones, and a better friend.
Tell me in the comments: do you ever schedule your emails or texts? Do you find it useful?
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Are you working with your body, or against it?
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