Benjamin Franklin is credited with first speaking the famous words:
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Many have lived their lives by this maxim and have become more productive because of it. Other productivity gurus will encourage you to do your most distasteful task first each day so that it is out of the way and you will not have you dread doing it (and be distracted by it).
I agree with both of these principles if your goal is maximum productivity. I also believe, however, that as leaders sometimes the best thing we can do is to put off until tomorrow something that can be done today.
Leaders often find themselves in emotionally-charged situations. Justified or not, appropriate or not, these situations demand that the leader take a step back, attempt to remove as much of the emotion from the situation as possible, and respond in as productive a manner as possible. Respond too quickly to a situation fraught with emotion and you may find yourself wishing you had let just a bit of time pass before you answered.
Wait an hour before hitting send on the email reply, thereby allowing yourself time to re-read and edit your text. Put off until tomorrow the crucial conversation you need to have with your rouge employee about their response to another leader so that you have time to craft a reasonable response.
Take a deep breath, calm some of your own emotions, and you will be much happier with your response to the difficult situation as well as the response of others to you.