The interactive digital world has unleashed a new speed of expectation for business and personal communication. I am struggling to balance reaction and reflection time. The email pops into the inbox. The instant message jumps onto the screen. It is often more practical to just answer the question and move on, in hopes of slaying the mounting tide of communication needing answers.

But the sacrifice to this approach is reflection. Reflection offers the opportunity to put things in perspective, to see the “big” picture. This is what allows us to react more appropriately and with more respect for all parties involved, as well as mitigating factors.

What tools are at  our fingertips for balancing reaction and reflection? I use Gmail, and Google offers a Priority Inbox tool with a method of storing important and unfinished emails. I think of those stars as a notice to give pause and reflect before answering.

In the world of statistics, I look at our webstats in a broader time line, comparing data over at least several months, if not years. Integrating that data with perspectives from our clients, our clients’ customers and our account personnel allows for reflection to discern a better reaction.

How do you balance reflection and reaction?