I blame the writing of this post on the Command-Tab shortcut…

I had used Mac computers for almost 20-years before learning that shortcut. Now, pressing that particular key sequence has become a habit. A knee-jerk, default keystroke deployed for every split-second lapse in concentration. Too often, an eagerly sought distraction from whatever it is I should be doing. After all, even the Lord loves himself a distraction. As evidence I submit, the adorable duck-billed platypus.

The aforementioned, adorable, duck-billed platypus. Photo via

Hold Command+Tab…Command+Shift+Tab.

A glimpse is all it takes to register the growing number of notifications planted firmly in the upper right-hand corner of the email icon. Three in three minutes. Thirteen in nine. How do I know? That damn shortcut. Command+Tab.

Shoot. Now, I gotta look. Just a peek.

Here’s the count: two that are total nonsense, five project-based, six substituting for a real-time conversation. All decent etiquette would dictate those messages should’ve been IM’d. Or, better yet, posted to the company Slack.

Now, here’s the kicker…nonsense aside, all eleven emails had been sent inside this nine-minute window were sent by people sitting within earshot of each other. A collective thirty linear feet away from each other. We are all sitting in the offices of an advertising agency. In other words, a company built on the ability to communicate effectively. Please don’t mistake this semi-rant for finger-pointing. Perhaps the origin of this thought is my own guilt. But it seems like enough of a conversation in enough social circles that I might as well say what others around us are thinking.

Opposed to striving for inbox zero, let’s achieve conversation positive.

Rather than fill each other’s inboxes, let’s bend each other’s ear. Instead of clapping keyboards, let’s flap our gums. Abandon the emoticons. Embrace the emotions.

Let’s stare at each other, instead of a screen.

It works. It’s so much more of a delightful way to run a business. Face to face, rather than app to face.

I believe this theory applies out in the world too. Show up at the client’s with a reason. Unexpected refreshments often prove to be great reasons. Solve a problem together. Document it with smiles. Follow up with a toast. Stay long enough to find out where the restroom is. Count the number of family pictures on someone’s desk. Peep at their calendar to see double check that it’s not their birthday. Maybe you’ll have enough time to send a card? How unexpectedly beautiful would that be?

If nothing else, maybe this opened your mind to the power of the Command+Tab shortcut. Maybe that was a bad thing. In the meantime, I’ll end the rant here.

After all, I just Command+Tab peeped five new notifications on our #random Slack channel.

Go ahead and distract me. ryan [at] DefyThemAll [dot] com