I tweeted Monday “having a scratch text file to cut and paste stuff you want to think about before sending/posting/saying is one of my better ideas…”. This elicited a couple of responses, a bit to my surprise, as I was basically saying it out loud to myself as a reminder to use this principal. I have all too often fired off an email, tweet, forum response, or comment on a post full of knee jerk reaction, emotion and haste. Only to regret it as soon as I hit send, wishing I had thought through the ramifications of the response.
I wanted to clarify a bit on how/why I do this. As I’ve said, the main reason is if I have this unsaved text file already open, then I can quickly cut and paste the response to this file, move on to what ever it was I was doing before writing the response, and revisit later. This is different than crafting thought out responses in advance of posting or replying, which as Sean suggested in one of the responses to use Notational Velocity. I have well documented my love of Notational Velocity, and do indeed use it in this scenario. These are thoughts that I ruminate over, that I want to save even after posting or sending.
I also didn’t mean to suggest that this was some ground breaking idea or that it might be completely original. It is simply something that I have found works for me and prevents me from putting my foot in my mouth or worse. It allows me to get something off my chest and get the emotional element on paper, but move on without any ramifications. If after some period of time I still feel the need to respond to what ever it is, I can go back to this file, pull the relevant elements out the response, and temper the emotional aspects and pragmatically respond. However, if after some time, I feel the response is unwarranted or moot, I simply let it go. Having it as an unsaved file, I then figuratively “let it go” by closing the file without saving. For what ever reason, I feel if I save the file, I’m somehow hanging onto these thoughts which I’ve already deemed unworthy of sending. Hanging onto these thoughts, whether figuratively or literally, I find unhealthy for myself. They simply are added baggage to an already overfull luggage rack in my mind.