On the back of a piece of scratch paper, I’ve listed a few random tasks that I’ve been crossing out as I’ve made my way through them. A sublist, entitled “Email,” consists of names of people I need to send notes to, and generally it only requires a name and the context is self-evident. To “Kathryn” I need to follow up about a reservation from our campus motor pool; I want to make sure that “Angela” has received a check from my university; “Debi” should check in with me about her progress on her semester project.
But who the hell is “Ryan”?
Not only can I not remember what the subject line should be, but I can’t remember which “Ryan” I need to reply to. Or compose a new note to.
So, this is my “Dear Ryan” email:
If you get this note, could you please let me know what I should be emailing you about in the first place? At that point, I’ll be able to cross your name off my task list.
P.S.: I’m confident I’m going to remember who you are about 13 seconds after I hit ‘send’ on this email.