I am scheduling this blog entry to post on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 at 8 a.m. CT.
By the time you read it, I could’ve pressed “schedule” a few hours ago, or a few weeks ago, or even a few months ago. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but whenever you read it, it will be new to you.
In an age of instantaneous messaging, I find this enormously freeing. A nice gap between writing and publishing, sending and receiving.
A bit of technology that has changed my life: Gmail’s “Schedule Send” function. (Yes, I still use Gmail, even though I know better.)
If I answer emails in the afternoon, I schedule them to go out at 8AM the next morning. This means I don’t get a bunch of replies overnight and it often gives me time to add or edit the email before it goes out.
The problem with sending messages is that they’ll get answered with new messages. If I pick a time to write all my messages, but delay sending them, that buys me even more time to be blissfully unmessaged.
I know this sounds selfish, and it is, but Schedule Send also allows me to be courteous to others: I love the world too much to send it email on a weekend. I might write dozens of emails during a weekend, but none of my correspondents will receive an email on a weekend. This is as it should be.
My dream is to never have to answer email at all.
John Waters says real wealth is never having to deal with assholes, but real wealth for me would also mean no email.
“I don’t even have an e-mail address,” Umberto Eco once said. “I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.” (This was 25 years ago, by the way.)
“Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things,” Donald Knuth says on his website. “But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things.”
One day I will either have the real wealth or the courage to follow their examples, but for now, Schedule Send makes me feel a little richer.
Related reading: Answering letters