EmailCategory: General   Apr 21st 2015  10:33AM   0

I've always been a little obsessive about email, in that I answer all or most of my inbox within 24 hours or less (usually much less). In my 30s I worked long hours in sales (often 50-60/week), yet even then managed to keep up and reply to all by 9 or 10pm. Every single day, bar none, for 10 years. 

As a companion, correspondence is often more of a social/emotional nature than business or financial concern, and yet I've been just as conscientious. I've had phases in this current career, during which I'd see mainly 2-4 top travel patrons, plus a scattered handful of regulars for bimonthly or bi annual dinner dates. Other times, such as now, when my top travel patrons are scarce for various reasons, during which I earn most or all of my living from dinner dates. The number of clients it takes to make a decent living that way, is relatively high, obviously. If half of them expect regular or daily, emails, I can easily become overwhelmed. That said, because I enjoy and benefit from the correspondence as well, it pains me to have to curb it.

I took 36 hours off emailing this week, to tend to a pressing personal issue out of town. The situation was mildly stressful but I managed to factor in a couple appointments with new clients while there. Being so busy, I ignored all but the most vital emails for less than 2 days, then woke up today and spent 2.5 hours catching up. I'm still not done. 

I skipped a badly needed workout and chiropractic appointment. I will spend all afternoon working on my current project, which is what I try to do 5 afternoons a week and most weekends (if I'm not traveling/working). The time I spend on my art (for which I am not paid) is rarely less than 20 hours a week, and sometimes much more. My work appointments might take up one evening a week or 4-5 days in a row, I never know as my schedule constantly changes.

What I do behind the scenes to support my work and life, requires 10+ hours a week of running around town, as well. This includes workouts & yoga, chiropractic & massage appointments (I have a back injury, which is manageable but incurs daily pain & physical restrictions if I don't maintain it well), and beauty appointments from hair styling to facials (and countless skin laser treatments). I must shop, maintain my car, collect my mail (3 miles away), and run a gazillion other errands weekly. I have a therapist, a hormone specialist, and various other doctors to maintain my amazing health, as most people in their 40s do (or should). What I don't have is a social life. I mean NONE (well, other than the lunch date I have planned with my oldest friend tomorrow, our first in about 2 years).

In order to juggle my work as a companion, tend to my art, and do both of them well (which I do), I maintain a schedule that basically amounts to a 50-60 hour a week job. To be honest, I'm a little exhausted. Which is why I've decided today that from now on, I shall spend one hour every morning and one hour every evening answering emails, period.

I'm not thrilled about this, myself, as I enjoy keeping in touch with certain clients quite a bit. I'm not disappearing, of course, but it may take 2-3 days now to hear back on our less pressing correspondence. I expect my emails will be shorter, as well. I apologize to those lovely gents who are used to getting more personal attention. I simply do not have it to give right now. I didn't even have time to write this blog, but it had to be done. :(

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