Musings My Outfits

A Mindful Blogger’s Frustrations with the Cyberlife

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-3
Written by Jennifer Nini

On Saturday September 17 2016, I received an email from a “Jasmine” (*name changed for obvious reasons) with the subject line: “Love your awesome blog!” She went on to say how she enjoyed one of our articles and that she’d “love to contribute a guest post.”

Three days later when Jasmine didn’t receive a response, she sent me this email:

Hi Jennifer,

I sent you an email regarding guest posting on your site a few days ago. I understand we are all busy but did you give it a thought? (see previous email).

Looking forward to hear [sic] from you.

Regards,

Jasmine

I don’t know about you – or you, “Jasmine” if you’re reading this – but responding to emails is not my sole purpose in life. We might live in a world where instant gratification isn’t quick enough, where everything is “on demand” – Netflix, takeout, even dating thanks to Tinder – but I refuse to be an on demand human.

Now, put yourself in my position; as the editor of one of the world’s fastest growing sustainability blogs, the co-founder of several digital businesses and co-owner of an organic – soon to be certified organic – farm. My time is in high demand, and in short supply.

Time is my scarcest commodity. 

In fact, I’m betting that time is everyone’s scarcest commodity. I just happen to be highly aware of its value given my practice of mindfulness.

I want to meet my deadlines, write, interview, spend quality time with my partner, garden, play with my dog, go to the gym, grow and eat clean food, practice yoga and meditation, be a good sister/daughter/friend, read, journal, coach my team members, plan and execute business strategy.

Related Post: Why I Chose Mindful Living

Nowhere on my priority list is responding to non-essential email from people who are only reaching out under the guise of providing a “guest post” which is really just code for: “I don’t care about the quality of the piece I write for you, I don’t even care about your readers – I just want a quality backlink.” Indeed, Jasmine’s motivation for reaching out is not at all genuine, adding yet another layer of frustration.

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-2

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-collaboration

White top: Boody | Skirt: Cue Clothing Co. | Earrings: Kaleidoscope Global

The bane of my existence: emails and phone calls.

While the internet has made it much easier for me to get work as a digital strategist and copywriter, there’s a massive downside to it – the endless distractions.

My fiance and business partner doesn’t see what the fuss is about, but of course he wouldn’t. He’s not a creative. He’s in business development.

In the world of sales, every email and every call represents a business lead. In my world, every email and every call represents an annoying distraction. 

It’s why I don’t check emails first thing in the morning. It’s why I have a system in place for checking and responding to emails (I hired Ted, who prioritises email for me, and then I make it a point to only check and respond to essential emails). It’s why I keep my mobile phone on “airplane mode” when I’m working. It’s why I have reduced the amount of time I’ve spent on my personal social media accounts such as Facebook and Snapchat.

Related Post: The Meaning Behind My Meltdown

Distraction in all its forms – whether it be email, TV or the magazine you’re dying to read – is a real issue for writers. And even some of the world’s famous writers have (had) their own complex issues with it.

Here’s what Steven King had to say about distraction in his book, On Writing:

There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with.

Award–winning short story writer Nathan Englander in an interview with The Daily Beast:

Turn off your cell phone. Honestly, if you want to get work done, you’ve got to learn to unplug. No texting, no email, no Facebook, no Instagram. Whatever it is you’re doing, it needs to stop while you write.

In Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck explores his relationship with distraction:

Sue and Bob showed up this morning. Had to kick them out. Simply can’t have people around on working days.

I want to be a published author one day. If I am ever going to achieve this goal, you can expect me to be as ruthless with how I spend my time as these talented writers.

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-eco-fashion-collaboration-6

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-eco-fashion-collaboration-3

Top: Boody | Shoes: Etiko

Put yourself in my shoes.

So just to give you an idea of the kinds of emails that we – or more accurately, Ted – receives each week, here is a sample of them:

  • writers wanting to contribute,
  • sustainable brands wanting to advertise or collaborate,
  • readers who want to share their thoughts about one of our blog posts,
  • ethical bloggers wanting blogging advice,
  • journalists and writers wanting commentary for an article,
  • publicists’ latest press release,
  • students wanting assistance with sustainability/ethical fashion university assignments,
  • personal emails from friends and family members;
  • event invitations; and of course
  • lots and lots of email spam.

If you were in our position, what would you do? How would you go about prioritising your time? How do you possibly get back to every person asking for something – whether it be advice, recommendations, or advertising requests? And how do you do so while continuing important work whilst being there for the people that mean the most – family, friends and genuine community?

Related Post: A Journey to Mindfulness

I honestly thought I found the perfect solution when I hired Ted our admin officer… and still the email inbox is out of control!

eco-warrior-princess-x-boody-collaboration-2

Here I am enjoying a glass of sparkling after a big day of work at the farm.

I’m a digital copywriter, not an internet addict.

I use the internet, I don’t live on the internet.

Some users get high on technology; they abuse the internet much like a junkie abuses recreational drugs.

These internet addicts compulsively look at their smartphones at least a hundred times a day, constantly checking emails and notifications, liking images on Instagram, posting updates on Facebook, playing with image filters, Snapchatting – basically seeking out their next online dopamine hit. The internet is a bottomless rabbit warren for drug-like stimuli.

I might work in the digital industry but I refuse to become an internet addict.

Plus, how conscious can a mindful blogger be if they’re just as plugged in as the rest of modern society?

So I’m done apologising for not getting back to people. And I’m also done with the phrase “I’m busy.” As “Jasmine” clearly pointed out, everyone is busy.

To deal with this email hell of my own making, I’ve come up with what I think is a more effective reply if people get stroppy with my lack of response:

Sorry, I juggle many competing priorities and unfortunately your email wasn’t high on the list…

Surely no one can argue with truth?

Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess received these the Boody items as part of our affiliate relationship. If you purchase a Boody product using a link found on this website, we may earn a small commission. All monies received helps us with covering the operating costs of this website. For more information about our disclosure policy, click here.

Enjoyed this post & want to show your gratitude? Then please support Eco Warrior Princess on Patreon!

About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she began this blog to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she's not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.

8 Comments

  • Nowt wrong with your logic in my view. More folks should act the way you do then maybe this bizarre notion that everyone should be connected constantly would stop. Perfect response to email, think I might nick that one 🙂

    Steph x

    • Thanks Steph I’m so glad you understand! I was stressing so much not getting things done when people expected me to and I thought, why the heck am I doing this? This is nuts! I don’t want to feel bad because I choose my priorities over others not as important demands. I also think it’s why we’re all so wired up. Humans are not machines. We need to incorporate balance and set and manage expectations to stop people from shaping us in the way they demand. Remembering our priorities helps doesn’t it? xx

      • It is so hard when you have a strong work ethic and are simply a nice person to remember that sometimes people do demand things from us that don’t align with our priorities and that it is okay. I sometimes feel like it is swept under the rug that these things make us stressed and that we should ‘just cope’ or folk ask questions along the lines of ‘well have you considered you are in the wrong job?’, actually the issue is rarely the person who is stressed!
        You are spot on that remembering our priorities helps, I’ve been having a horrible week at work this week and your response and the original post have come at a fantastic time for me. Thanks so much. xx

        • Great timing then! I am far from having this all down pat but like you I am learning and trying to share my experience so that others open up too. And this weekend was the perfect example where priorities take, well priority. I spent most of it keeping a bedside vigil for Dusty my dog who was bitten by an Eastern Brown snake on the farm. I had so much to do but he was not in a good state and we were afraid to lost him. When things like this happen, all other things pale in comparison. First things always come first. Like family 🙂 Hope it gets easier for you from here on in xx

  • I get emails like this all the time. I have canned responses set up on gmail so I can click a button and reply with a generic email. In fact I have a whole host of canned generic responses set up – it’s revolutionised how fast I can get through my emails! That and deciding which emails need a reply and which don’t. If an email isn’t addressed to me personally generally I don’t reply as I know it’s part of a large mail out.

    • Thanks Wendy for sharing! I like that idea of canned responses and may get my admin officer Ted to investigate. Since I published that post, we have drastically overhauled how we deal with emails. Now he has approval to reject all that is not personalised and I have also blocked a heap of websites and “guest writers” that are spammy.

  • Prioritizing and doing first things first is the MUST do for everyone. Whether one is in a creative profession or not, one needs to know what is a distraction for his/her work and what is productive. And then massively rejects the distractions and work on the productives. Just my thoughts.

    • Thanks for leaving another thoughtful comment Earline. Since writing this post, have absolutely implemented this ‘first things first’ philosophy. I think it’s why even though I should be feeling lots of stress as I have so many responsibilities, I’m not. It’s because I have prioritised and noted what is most valuable to me, and then in each work day I prioritise the crucial tasks first 🙂

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

/* ]]> */
Don't forget to follow Eco Warrior Princess on social media!