We all know that email is a burden for everyone.  One of its best features — enabling asynchronous communication — is also its chief bug, i.e., whenever you’re not using email, someone is leaving you work to do in your inbox.  Take a break and you fall behind; fall behind and you can’t take breaks.

But last night, I made a decision to clear out some space in my calendar, stay up a little bit later than usual, and really work hard in my inbox.  I communicated as clearly, directly, and energetically as I could.  I picked up old threads.  I started some new conversations.  I invited some people into, or back into, my workflow.  I sent out thank yous and provocations and improvisations.  I closed some loops that desperately needed closing and opened a few that needed opening.  In short, I tried to make email feel artful and personal again.  Vital again.

And today, as people responded to last night’s flood of emails, I felt truly energized every time I looked at my inbox.  The energy, inquisitiveness, and creativity of the emails I received matched the energy, inquisitiveness, and creativity of the emails I had sent.  Being in email felt like being in really good conversations.  It felt human.  The game itself didn’t change, but for an evening and a day, the players did.

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