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Could Have Been an Email

You can buy t-shirts and mugs with the phrase, find memes with frustrated minions on the joke: this meeting could have been an email.

Most companies, I think, are guilty of it. People are invited to meetings that they don't need to attend; questions are asked over Zoom instead of Slack. It happens, partially because of a FOMO on what could be accomplished in person.

Sometimes meetings really are the right direction, especially when a UX Writer needs to sync with PMs, devs, or designers on the overall direction of a flow or feature. But recently, I've started asking if I've been scheduling too many meetings with myself.

I'm not hopping on MS Teams to talk with myself, obviously. But I take focus time, alone, to tackle bigger challenges, and I like to take time to reflect on how I'm doing, how I can grow as a writer.

Though self-reflection and introspection are needed for personal growth, excessive self-meetings can lead to analysis paralysis. When I spend too much time deliberating over my ideas and decisions, I can lose sight of taking action. The purpose of self-reflection is to gain insights and make informed choices, not to get stuck in an unending cycle of overthinking.

Sometimes, too, you just have to make a decision--to go with your gut and rely on your experience. I'm not advocating for no focus-time or self-reflection, but I think there needs to be a hard cut-off for those just like any other meeting. When I get stuck on something, I'll now make a note ("This can be an email, not a meeting!") instead of dwelling on it. Same for when I feel I've make a mistake or could have done something better. Reflect, consider, but then move on.

One of my early writing mentors taught me to reflect monthly on what I've accomplished, since those little "wins" can go unnoticed otherwise. It's been a great way to consider what I've done well, what differences I've made, and also on what I can improve or where my focus needs to be redirected. These sorts of self-meetings have a place, and a clear benefit, while random introspection can be as frustrating as those last-minute "hop on a call real quick?"'s.

So I encourage you to schedule a one on one with yourself every once in awhile. But in the day-to-day...stick to emails.


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