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It is undoubtedly frustrating when you try to reach someone but they do not respond. I hope this post provides some clarity if that “someone” happens to be me.

  1. I tend to check messages much less frequently than I did before. This is because the cognitive cost of context switching is quite high for me and so if there are matters that require rapid replies, asking for my emergency contact will help. I also check phone-based messengers much less frequently than desktop ones, so that means I will probably read your email first before getting around WhatsApp and WeChat.
  2. Sometimes I read a message when I do not have the capacity to write a good enough reply. But the messenger apps will check it off and I may regretfully forget to reply to these messages. Please send me a reminder if it is important and I really appreciate that.
  3. Many questions should be best asked on a public domain (e.g. StackExchange) and gather replies from people who are much more knowledgeable than me. If you do respect my opinion on this, I will be happy to receive a link to the question. Some questions, though, can be easily answered by a search engine. Unless it is mutually assumed, it is a good practice to indicate why the receiver is the best person to respond to that request and show why other means of getting an answer do not work.
  4. There will be times when I simply cannot check all messages, including but not limited to my exam time. I believe others may also have similar issues. In those cases, it may be good to check their website/social media to see what is the latest updates and adjust expectations.

In conclusion, the following may be a good workflow when messaging someone, including me:

Thank you and I will be thrilled to receive your thought-provoking messages.

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Tim

Personalizing medicine

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