With the ever increasing use of emails at both work sites and at home there are certain precautions for all of us to keep in mind. This is especially true of persons with ADHD. Although e-mails can serve a valuable purpose for the mass distribution of information. It also can be a poor substitute for the phone, a personal conversation or even a forty two cent old fashioned letter.

The problems with e-mails is that they are often written quickly in an emotional manner with very little thought given to how the words we may type may be received by the recipient. They lack the body language we can view from a person we are talking to in person. They lack the tone of voice that may be evident in a phone call. They are not as closely reviewed or thought out as a old fashion letter may be. And finally they are so easy to fire off that they may be fraught with danger for those with ADHD.

My best advice that I heard recently is NEVER send an e-mail while you are emotionally upset. Always either wait until you have calmed down or write the response immediately but put it in your SEND LATER/DRAFT box so that you can review it an hour or a day later when things have calmed down. Often times when we re-read the e-mail we will recognize many potential statements packed with emotionally charged words that can come back and bite us in the butt. Since most of us lack the 3 second delay button on our responses its absolutely necessary to review and rewrite a e-mail we may otherwise have sent emotionally.

The same thing applies to responding to e-mails we receive from others that we may have misread, misunderstood or felt were inappropriate. Keep in mind that the prevalence of e-mail has made off the cuff comments more common and in almost all cases make us feel obligated to respond to the e-mail. If we can wait and call the person who sent it, or talk to them directly its is best to do that to make sure of their meaning. If that is not possible and e-mail is our only recourse it is vital that we not respond emotionally and instantaneous. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all e-mails need to be responded to at all. How many of you have sent an e-mail with no expectation of a response, only to receive a note saying THANKS. So unless you have to know the person received the e-mail tell them in the e-mail it is not necessary to respond. I don't know how many e-mails I have received saying THANKS and responding NO PROBLEM that just waste both parties time.

I wrote this newsletter based on a discussion we had with friends about e-mails and how often they are written or responded to under emotional situations. Since they can be printed and become a permanent record and even often tracked by employers it is important that our e-mails are well thought out, appropriate and respectful.

If you have any comments or helpful suggestions on this feel free to write me.

Author's Bio: 

Patrick Hurley

17 years law enforcement (Lieutenant), 5 years adult probation/parole officer, 11 years as ADHD support group facilitator, 4 years ADHD Life Skills Coach.

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