So I contacted the person who could help – and then sent what others would think an unnecessary email.
I emailed my colleague saying that I’d spoken to the other person, and would get back to him when I heard back.
Why did I add that to his groaning inbox?
- So he knows that we agreed a course of action – clarity.
- So he knows I acted on it – certainty.
- So he knows that he can stop wondering if he should remind me – confidence.
Lack of those three lead to distraction: you’re unclear, uncertain and unconfident. That’s an ‘open’ communication loop, because you’re expecting to hear something from someone, sometime, but you don’t know what, where or when. So the issue stays at the periphery of your attention the whole time, tapping you on the shoulder in case you forget that it’s around.
I know from bitter experience how distracting that can be for me, and for people I work with.
But by sending that one extra email I closed the loop for him.
Now I need to add to my own groaning inbox. I kept a copy of the email I sent to that other person, and stored it in a folder which I check weekly. It’s called ‘Waiting’, and it’s where I keep copies of every email to which I need a reply in order to take things forward. That way they’re out of the inbox, but in the right place to be checked.
And because I know I will do that, I also can have clarity, certainty and confidence. I’ve closed a loop for me too.
So I can give my mind to prepping my sermon, without worrying that there’s something I’ve forgotten.
What’s your way of closing the loops? Join in!