There are some things I’m proud to say I’ve mastered with relative ease: I can open a bottle of champagne without spilling a drop, drive a stick shift and power nap like a pro. But when it comes to managing my email, I’m a disaster. I currently have 5,354 unread emails in my inbox. The usually round red notification bubble on my desktop is hot dog-shaped from the strain.
I have never liked email. Back in my starving-artist days, I earned a living freelancing in a graphic-services department at a big investment bank. The team I worked for needed round-the-clock support, and I covered the graveyard shift. It paid the bills, but I was permanently exhausted – going to bed with sunshine blazing through my bedroom windows didn’t work well for me. One night, around 3 a.m., I sluggishly finished a round of edits for an important client presentation that was due the next day and readied them to email. My message started well enough: a cordial greeting, information about the pages I had attached. Then came the descent into slumber. “If you could meet me by the tall bridge my brother will have the purple turkey,” I wrote, following it up with a string of unintelligible words and numbers. I signed off with a highly professional “Love you!” and woke up as the “sent” notification pinged. Heart pounding, I immediately sent an apology email with an excuse I have since blocked from my memory. The recipient, a senior vice-president, never responded.
That was just the beginning of my dysfunctional relationship with email, which has included accidental reply-alls, brazen address-auto-fill-function mismailings and my messages multiplying like wire hangers from the dry cleaner’s. (Update: My inbox just hit 5,359.)
Work life is at the centre of the magazine this month. We’ve got fashion’s statement-making suits, which are perfect for a corner-office meeting, and advice on how to personalize your workspace, which has been proven to maximize well-being. If you’re looking for ways to be more productive at work, I recommend our career special. This package shares tips on how to be more effective in your career, stay on top of your to-do list and use your personality’s strengths to succeed. Our cover star, the inimitable force that is Rihanna, has a new job: makeup-collection founder. See our cover story for details of her exciting launch, called Fenty Beauty by Rihanna.
I doubt RiRi has any issues with her inbox. Perhaps I should take inspiration from the Bajan beauty’s unabashedly confident, no-regrets persona and just delete all my messages. But before I make that decision, I’ll sleep on it first.
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This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.