When was the last time you sent or received a personal note? I’m not talking about an email or a text or a “comment” directed only to you, but a handwritten, personalized note on stationery and in an envelope. When was that? Last month? Last year? Can’t remember?
The handwritten note has become a rare commodity. A U.S. Postal Service survey found that in 2010 the average home received a personal letter only once every seven weeks, compared to once every two weeks in 1987. With so many electronic media options available to us, it’s much quicker and easier to whip out a “thank you” email, a “TY” text, or the equivalent via emoticon, than to take the time to write a personal note.
But here’s the thing. None of those electronic options are as meaningful or as memorable as a handwritten note. A handwritten note:
- Says you think the other person is important enough for you to invest the time to write it
- Stands out from the flood of electronic messages we receive every day
- Has longevity, compared to emails that can get buried or accidentally deleted
- Is truly personal – crafted word by word rather than from a template
And best of all is the way it makes the recipient feel. I was reminded of this recently when I received a note from someone thanking me for a personal note I had included for her with a copy of my book, The Get Real Guide to Your Career. Here’s what she said:
“Thank you very much for the personalized note that came with my book. I forgot how wonderful it is to receive handwritten messages. I just wanted to say your book is a masterpiece. It has been an amazing tool for me and it couldn’t have come at a better time in my professional life. Thank you again for your amazing guidance.”
In my quest to return us all to a gentler, kinder society, let me suggest that the next time you want to say “Thank You,” “Happy Birthday,” “Congratulations,” or just catch up with an old friend, you take the time to do it the old-fashioned way – the personal, handwritten note.
Till next time,
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and, for many of us, the signal to start thinking about our annual vacation. Well, many of us have been thinking about it since January. Let’s be honest.
If you don’t already have something on the calendar, I encourage you to take a few minutes right now (well, after you finish reading this) and pencil in a week or two weeks or whatever your schedule allows. You need a break. It’s good for you, and it’s good for your employer.
Taking vacation has been shown to:
• Reduce stress
• Contribute to better physical and mental health
• Improve relationships
When companies encourage their employees to take vacation, they benefit through:
• Higher employee productivity
• Stronger workplace morale
• Greater retention
• Healthier employees
Whether you take an exotic vacation or a low-key “staycation,” get something on the calendar before the summer gets away from you!
Once you’ve scheduled your vacation, don’t stop there. I highly recommend that you pick a day this summer, and in fact, maybe once a month or once a quarter, that is just…for…you. One day that is your day to do whatever you want, except work! Go to a spa, take a hike, play a round of golf, or just sit by the ocean…whatever feeds your soul.
Just like you need to give your body a break from your workouts, you need to give your brain a break from your work. Thinking, managing your emotions, making decisions, creating new ideas, interacting with others, all require mental effort that can wear your brain out. You need to give it a rest.
In the words of Maya Angelou: “Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
Till next time,