Like you, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to be more mindful in my interactions with others. I also practice mindfulness when I meditate, and I'm mindful about what and when I eat. It was only recently that I started thinking about how to apply this to the digital world.
All too often, I send emails and texts from my smartphone amidst a flurry of other activities, at all times of day and even when I'm in front of the television. I even find myself replying to emails as I'm standing in line at the grocery store. In these moments, I convince myself that I am being efficient and multi-tasking, but the truth is that I am not being very mindful at all! I'm not giving the person attached to the email or the text the attention that he or she deserves.
Now even though I've chosen to step away from corporate America and re-invent myself, I still have to manage life in the digital age and spend a lot of time on my computer sending and responding to email.
I think that for me, "mindful email" is about the connection with the person to whom the email is being directed to, while also being mindful about the content itself. Before you send that email, try asking yourself, "Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?" But at the same time, we ought to be aware that not everyone is going to do the same for us.
And rather than getting frustrated, irritated, angry, or hurt by an email, we can consider how to be kind in our response and temper our emotional reaction. We should try to remind ourselves that we never fully know the pain or experience of another person, even those who we care about deeply.
The practice of sending mindful email is no different than practicing mindfulness in our real-life interactions.
There are many strategies, tools and techniques available to managing email better, but what I feel is really missing is mindfulness.
Here are five easy steps to practicing mindful emailing: