As a general, Napoleon made it his habit to delay responding to the mail. His secretary was instructed to wait three weeks before opening any correspondence. When he finally did hear what was in a letter, Napoleon loved to note how many supposedly “important” issues had simply resolved themselves and no longer required a reply.
While Napoleon was certainly an eccentric leader, he was never negligent in his duties or out of touch with his government or his soldiers. But in order to be active and aware of what actually mattered, he had to be selective about who and what kind of information got access to his brain.
In a similar vein, he told messengers never to wake him with good news. Bad news, on the other hand – that is to say, an unfolding crisis or an urgent development that negatively impacted his campaign – was to be brought to him immediately, “Rouse me instantly,” he said, “for then there is not a moment to be lost.”
-Limit you inputs, Stillness is the Key, Ryan Holiday, 2019
[Although we named him for Napoleon Dynamite. And not Bonaparte]
In any event. I feel better about never replying to my email now. Or I suppose more accurately, almost never. I’d like to say this is because I was channeling some esoteric lore of efficiency… but really, its probably more reasonable to assume I’m being lazy. Or got distracted. Or your email seemed particularly formal and official looking in the preview… in which case it DEFINITELY went unread…
It used to drive my employees mad… but I had important macro-economic concerns and grandiose strategy to mull over. Like why my navel lint was always blue and which coffee-beans we should commit to as the office bean of preference. Say what you like about my other failings, we always had amazing coffee.
And cake. God I miss being able to expense cake.