Thursday, 13 September 2007

Organising communication: now/later/never

There are emails I want to see right now, whenever they arrive, some that can wait a while, and some that I never want to see. They are referred to as ham, bacn and spam respectively. I think the "now/later/never" framework can be applied to other communications as well. For instance, there are some phone calls that I want to take no matter the circumstances, some that I can defer and call back later if necessary and some that I never want to get. These are mostly defined by who is calling.

My news feeds is another category of communication that could benefit from some now/later/never categorisation. By analysis of my reading patterns, it should be possible to determine which stories will interest me most, which I don't mind leaving a while and which ones do not interest me at all. Then when I'm in a rush I can just go over the most important ones and come back to the deferred ones later, never even bothering to see the others that don't concern me. Physical mail could go like this too (bills, postcards, advertising) and TV (say, news, sitcoms, soaps).

All that being said, however, the three-tiered filtration must be automatic and is only a focus and time management tool, not the primary way to organise your thinking.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Too few communication programs give great control over content.
PPS - Sometimes it's because they were designed too long ago.


Linda said...

Funny, but it seems to me that communication between husband and wife already falls into those categories. This creates a problem when the "now" for one person was not the "now" for the other. So for good communication in a relationship one must put away their categories and simply communicate. Takes practice.


John said...

Communication in marriage would all fall into the most important category when it is received. As for sending messages out, that usually doesn't get categorised at all. You do it when you can, which either means when there's time or when the opportunity presents itself (eg a chance meeting).

And of course I don't claim to be any kind of expert on effective communication, especially in marriage. "Married only four months" and "borderline autistic" are not strong bullet points on that particular resume.