Are you like me at work: "Send me an email otherwise I'll forget"

I fully and openly acknowledge that I have a shit memory to all my work colleagues. In fact I am fairly quick to point out my own foibles (unfortunately I am unable to resist pointing out my strengths too)

Foibles - Memory, Utterly hopelessly phenomenally useless at mental arithmetic (Adding 7 and 19 requires effort [ok, upon reflection, it actually doesn’t. So bad example]). Worst. Handwriting. Ever! (as a consequence I do everything possible by keyboard, and actually ask other people to write things on my behalf when something needs to be handwritten)

Strengths - Fucking good at problem solving (except in a few areas, such as arithmetic and working out what the hell to do when the clocks change!).

Anyway, because of the memory foible. I say to people “Send me an email” and if they don’t and I forget to do what they wanted, I say “You didn’t send an email. That’s why I forgot”

I’m only slightly more naturally forgetful than the average person, but because of the position I hold in the company I have so much shit swimming around in my head that I am unlikely to remember the requests/ramblings of my staff.

Actually my email is rarely open at work. I’ve tried to train the salespeople to actually fill out a request form, but they don’t always. They don’t seem to realize that if they tell me (or worse, repeat what’s on the form. How retarded is that?), I’ll forget.

I send myself emails all the time to remind me of stuff though.

A few of us at work call ourselves “Goldfish” as we generally don’t remember any request, the second after it’s been said.

Hence, all salespeople get the response “send me an e-mail” and for the others I tend to write things down (and find the notes in my pockets when I get home)

Until today I’ve only done this very occasionally.

But today I decided to try to start a new habit…

Often my boss will ask for some info from the database.

I’ll spend ten minutes constructing a SQL query to get this info.

I’ll then send the info in an excel file and promptly close-without-saving the query.

Then invariably the boss will ask for the same info again, but with a slight variance.

So I have to reconstruct the sql query from scratch, and alter it to accommodate the variance.

So the new habit I want to get into is… Forward his info request email to myself, but add the query used to get the info. Then when the email arrives in my inbox (from myself) move it to my ‘save’ folder. (where I put all emails containing useful reusable information)

If you were my boss, I’d be happy to send you the reminder emails. If you were a peer coworker, I’d be like “send your own damn self an email,” assuming my request were otherwise reasonable. Now, if your role was one that all requests for, say, new queries were to come in by email, that would be cool. Needless to say, if I were your boss, I’d be a little :rolleyes: about it. So just don’t overdo it. If I’m coordinating the department picnic, you’re not getting a special email that you said you’d bring the coleslaw. Email and electronic calendars have all kinds of flag and reminder features that can be pretty helpful.

I never send these emails to my boss. my boss usually makes requests by email (half of the reason for that is that he’s often not within a hundred miles of the office. But when he is in the same peter-damn-room he’ll send an email which by sheer accident is a good thing for me) But on the rare occasions when my boss makes a verbal request I’ll send myself an emal. No, my rule is for those for whom I am the boss.

Yes. I let people know that if it’s in an e-mail, it’s guaranteed to find its way into my “to do” queue. It’s typical for several people to stop me for “can you help me with this now” things as I pass their desks - "when you get a minute"s are likely to get lost in the shuffle.

I absolutely ask people to follow up on a work conversation with an e-mail.

Talking’s all well and good normally, but if something is worth following up on, it’s worth following up on in writing.

I most certainly follow up with people with e-mails myself, if it’s that important to me.

I like things in writing. It helps define what we think we’re talking about.

Similar to the OP, I don’t have a great memory, and this is exacerbated by the fact that I get person after person coming up to me at work and making requests - often a new person comes to me while the previous one is just walking away. I get very anxious because I know I’ll forget.

I try to jot down a note for myself fast enough (my todo list), but I far perfer people sending me an e-mail and I think it should be standard practice in most companies. Here’s why:

  • It can’t be forgotten: E-mails stay in my inbox until they are dealt with.

  • It removes ambiguity: If there is a question mark, just re-read the request. If there are still questions, continue the e-mail thread until everything is resolved and clear.

  • It is a record: If there is a dispute over what was asked for vs. what was delivered, there is a record to refer to so we can see who was at fault.

  • It helps with efficiency: Rather than bother me while I’m in the middle of working on something, take your time to write the request whenever you feel like it, and as soon as I’m not working on something I’ll read it carefully. The alternative is everyone feeling rushed and being interrupted.

(All that said, tomorrow is my last day at this job and I’ll be glad to be working for myself once again.)

I need everything in writing because:

  1. I forget everything, and

  2. I have a hearing deficit that makes it damn near impossible to navigate the many different accents I deal with every day.

I think this is pretty common. I think most people are so busy each day that if they didn’t have it in writing, nothing would get done.

I definitely prefer emails, especially when someone tries to ask for something verbally. Won’t work. I will forget, or have to come back to you for details. Ideally, I would have no work-related, face-to-face interaction with anyone while working. If it’s personal goof-off stuff or whatever, feel free to come chitchat.

Yes. I’m a visual person. If I read something, there’s a much better chance that I will remember it than there is if I hear something.

Email is great, too, because it creates a ready-made record of what the problem was and how it was solved. That makes it easy if the same problem recurs later.

It irritates me when I’m talking to a person, and they tell me to write them an e-mail instead. If you can’t remember something if it isn’t written down, then write it down yourself! It’s called “taking notes.” Not that I’m not sympathetic…I can never remember anything if it isn’t written down, either. But I think it’s the responsibility of the forgetful person to figure out how not to forget. It’s not everyone else’s problem.

Yep. Send me an email. Lots of the requests I get are for info that I’m going to have to get from our suppliers. Most commonly, it will take 2 days to hear back from the supplier. If the original request isn’t in email form, I can’t ever remember who wanted what answer.

Trust me, that won’t work. It is the responsibility of someone who wants a job doing to formally request it by email.

Edit, I have enough work to do without having to write shit down for everyone too lazy to send an email. And it’s not as if we are saying “Stop! Don’t say anymore. Send an email” what we actually do is have the conversation, and then at the end of it we say “Can you send me an email about it? otherwise I’ll forget”

It’s just a heck of a lot more efficient all round.

This… if for no other reason then it documents what the person wants. I’ve had way to many who say they asked me for something they never asked for or asked me for something then swore they asked me for something entirely different.

Of course, I forget things too so this approach doesn’t hurt.

No, I never ask for an email or write anything down. I seem to remember everything that is really worth remembering. If I forget, I probably didn’t want to remember it.

I require requests to be emailed. If I have a conversation with someone about a new request, it ends with “be sure to send an email”. I’ll even carefully explain the important points they need to include in the email, particularly if the request won’t end up on my desk.

Actually, all requests are supposed to go through our helpdesk, so it’s “be sure to send an email request to the helpdesk”, but if they send it to me instead, I’ll manage.

That goes for requests for anyone in our department. Yes, we frequently get stopped in the hallway for a request that the user knows is for someone else and knows the person they’re asking couldn’t possibly know about, but hey - shouldn’t be any problem to be their errandboy, right?

If someone doesn’t send the email, then their stuff doesn’t get done.

One, my memory is not what it used to be. (I think mine is mostly stress, but perhaps it’s age and I’m just lying to myself. ;)) I really, truly will forget what you told me, quite frequently. The details if not the entire conversation. Of course, frequently when I get stopped for a “can you just…” conversation, I’m in the middle of something or on the way to/from something that is occupying most of my brainpower - that “request in passing” just doesn’t lodge.

Two, people are often not very clear about what they want in “hallway meetings”. When I used to work from verbal requests, I ended up doing a lot of it over because the requester gave me bad info and/or I misunderstood them. Making them sit down and think about their request to put it in writing (at their desk, where they can look up info as needed) usually results in a much smoother process.

Three, I have documentation of what was requested. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve needed that.

We do actually have this as policy, so I have backup on it as needed. However, I did it before it was policy. If the request is important to you, then you can take the two minutes to email me about it instead of expecting me to remember minute details of fourteen conversations a day with twenty different people.

Lobsang - yuppers, we send all query results out with a copy of the query. Our situation is a little different, though. It’s because we get requests of “I need you to rerun that query you ran for me last (week, month, Spring, year, decade, etc.) except different.” Yeah, guys, we remember exactly what that was. We only run queries for 1000 users, you know. :rolleyes:

I don’t see the efficiency. What’s efficient about having a whole conversation about something, and then having to type out an e-mail, repeating the whole thing?

“Sorry. Can’t talk. Not efficient”