Muhammad Ali said he was so fast that he cut the light off and was in bed before the room got dark. I'm like that about replying to emails.
I often shock my correspondents with my quick responses. Email is instant messaging for me.
With friends, family, colleagues, strangers who write to Vital Speeches seeking advice. "Wow!" I often hear. "Thanks for the quick response!"
Part of it is, I follow the old time-management rule of "touch every piece of paper only once"; I want to respond and move on, not waste time chewing over your email six different times before I weigh in.
But there's a much more salient reason why I respond so quickly, and I came across it in the New York Times obituary a few weeks ago, of the screenwriter Don Mankiewicz, whose father was a writer too. He remembered once, when his father was working on a script at home, and the doorbell rang and he answered the door.
“Of course, being a writer, he’s going to answer the door, because if he doesn’t answer the door he’s going to have to be writing. I understand that personally; I answer the door, every time. It’s better than facing an empty page.”
Your message is very important to me, of course. But it's also true that writing back to you is better than facing an empty page.