Here are two truths.
1. Everyone loves thank you notes. They are small labors of love, a gift.
2. Everyone hates email. Getting an email adds to your work burden.
It’s like giving someone flowers in a broken vase.
So why is it so common that the two get combined?
A hint: we are busier than ever. We are frantic with busy.
We recognize that #1 has gigantic value. Then, we are seduced by how easy #2 is, despite how evil it is. “Quick!” is an evil temptress in the world of busy.
Sending an email thank you note effectively tells people that we value our time over theirs. If you’re doing it, stop it. Stop it now.
A confession: I used to be good at writing hand written thank you notes. I recognized their power. But then my harridan of busy sank her fangs into me. I fell off the wagon. I was seduced by the evil god of email. And it’s wrong.
How I’m fixing it: I’ve turned to my two old friends, habit and rhythm.
You and I know good and well that you can do anything that you want for 20 minutes a week. That is not so much time that it freaks out the busy demon in our souls. Especially since there are other, less productive things that we shouldn’t be doing that we do for (way) more than 20 minutes a week.
In this 20 minutes, I can write two hand-written, sincere thank you notes to people who have made my life easier, or created value for my organization, my city, my family, or my colleagues. It is enough. And it is worth it.