Many of the classic tasks of yesteryear have become obsolete after the arrival of technological inventions, like the computer. We are in an era where efficiency is held king and faster typically correlates to better. Efficiency is defined as “the ability to accomplish a job with minimum expenditure of time and effort.” But is that always better?
Psychologists and life-style coaches remind us that a happier, healthier life can only be accomplished through balance. We somehow need to include, on our endless list of “to-dos”, those tasks that big us joy and reflect the things we value. I think most people would agree that our lives are richer because of the relationships we share with family and friends.
So, this is a perfect week for me to tout hand written letters. I’m not talking about replacing e-mails sent for business purposes or general communication with a hand written note. I’m talking about spending a few quiet moments contemplating the people, in your life, who might really benefit from knowing that they are in your thoughts. Aging relatives? Widowed friends? Empty nesters? Service men and women? I was raised by a mom who devoted a small portion of her day, every day, to correspond with friends and loved ones. I saw the impact that it had on people’s lives as well as her own. Most of us don’t hesitate to send a sympathy card to a friend, after a death, but how about a card, months later, as a reminder they are still in our thoughts? A hand written letter doesn’t have to be long or say anything profound. In fact, it doesn’t really need to say much more than…”I’m thinking about you.”
It’s always a bright spot, for me, when I pull something from the mailbox other than bills and junk mail. I challenge you, this week, to help create that bright spot for someone else. Identify just one person who might really benefit from a hand written note. (Seriously, who wouldn’t?) A simple note that just says “hi” but communicates so much more. Think of all the people who could be encouraged, all the lives that could be brightened. It’s a moderate amount of time and effort for a huge payoff. For me, that’s true efficiency.