What if I could show you a means to shave fifteen minutes per day off of the time you may spend on your email? Would this really make a difference in your life? Helping you save 15 minutes daily would free up a lot more than 2,225 hours over the course of the next twenty-five years. That’s equal to 285 work days (2,225 hours divided by a typical 8 hour work day = 285 days). That’s more days than most people work in a whole year!
What can you accomplish with an extra year of labor? Would that be worth spending 15 minutes to understand the device I developed for processing your email?
If you’re like most people, you might have challenges together with your email. Perhaps your in-box is definitely supported. It could be so backed up that you would be embarrassed to inform someone exactly how many messages have been in there. Many of my clients (before they learned my system) experienced a backlog of various hundred messages inside their in-box. This caused them to spend time sorting through their messy in-box looking for messages which needed their attention.
However the problem I find with my clients is because they simply spend too much time on their own email. I teach my clients to be more proactive and fewer reactive. It will help these to be a little more efficient, effective, and successful in their work and private lives. Email offers a huge temptation to be in a reactive mode. You may have majorly important, even time sensitive goals on the plate, yet you’re still taking time far from those goals to see email messages regarding the most irrelevant things imaginable, and often taking time to respond to those messages!
Lots of people, in an effort to escape the distraction brought on by their email, elect to bury their heads within the sand by not processing their email for many days, resulting in a tremendous backlog that leaves them overwhelmed without any hope of ever fully catching up.
One of the best aspects of my method is that it’s Quite Simple. It is then simple to learn and implement. However, you probably have years of bad email habits which will need changing and old habits die hard. It’s likely to take a really strong commitment and a few discipline to produce the brand new habits, but when they’re established, it will probably be easy and natural.
Step One: Create two new folders named “*URGENT” and “*NOT URGENT”. Position the “*” initially from the folder name to ensure that it will sort to the top of your listing of folders. You could also us an underscore “_” or any other character for this specific purpose.
Step Two: Create folders for saving emails which you may need later. If you currently have these folders, you will need to produce some new ones, or rename and reorganize those you have so that they make more sense.
Step Three: Figure out how to utilize the filter system in email as a to do list and set up as many filters as possible for messages which you don’t have to see right away once they arrive. For instance, should you be on any email discussion lists, where you get several messages each day or a week, create a filter that automatically sorts those messages into one of the mail folders. By doing this they are going to never turn up inside your in-box and they can be neatly organized into folders.
Step 4: Ensure you have a very good spam filter in position. Everyone receives a lot of spam today, but having a good spam filter will eliminate the majority of it.
Step 5: Learn my system for processing your in-box. This can be used process to empty your in-box very quickly, even though it provides numerous messages in it. Have your messages sorted from newest to oldest and process the newest ones first. By doing this, if there is a conversation involving several messages, you won’t respond to an older message, only to later find that your response had not been relevant to the current stage from the discussion. Process your messages inside the order they are sorted – one-by-one. Don’t ggxmmq to skip around your in-box in an effort to process the greater important or urgent emails first. Which had been the previous way of doing things. Trust me, you will end up a lot more efficient if you go through them inside the order they are sitting there within your in-box (don’t skip around!). Your goal at this stage of processing your in-box is to get it to empty as well as sort your messages quickly and efficiently into folders for working with later. At a second stage you will end up actually responding to the important messages.
Don’t open any messages that you simply don’t have to in order to decide how to handle them. Make an effort to make the decision based on the Sender as well as the Subject. When you have to open the content then scan it as fast as possible to make the choice on what to do with it. I’m not excited about those “preview windows” because they offer a temptation to see emails that you’re not actually ready to cope with yet. You might like to try turning your preview window off, although this is not a critical a part of my system.
Here are the 4 choices for what to do with each message. You may want to post these alongside your personal computer while you’re learning the program and establishing new habits.
Delete It: The delete key should become your brand new closest friend. Take joy in each message which you delete because it’s just not important enough to receive your attention. Think of all of the time you’re freeing up for other activities. Delete, delete, delete. Your primary goal should be to delete as much as possible.
File It: If you believe you might never have to read it or do just about anything along with it, but you may want it later for whatever reason, then save it in your folders. However, don’t put it in your *URGENT or *NOT URGENT folders – these use a different purpose. You will occasionally want to make a new folder for saving your messages in an organized fashion.
Under 2 Minutes – Do It: Should it be something you want to read, or something you need to read reply to, or anything you would like to forward, and you can do it in just 2-minutes, then do it properly then. Then either delete or file the content immediately to have it out of your in-box. If it’s likely to take more than 2 minutes, DON’T DO IT, instead carry out the following:
URGENT or otherwise not URGENT Boxes: If the messages needs reading, replying, or forwarding, and you estimate that it will require greater than 2-minutes, move it to either your URGENT box or perhaps your NOT URGENT box. The URGENT box needs to be for messages that require action inside the next 24-48 hours and also the NOT URGENT box is perfect for the others. Both of these boxes are for important messages only! If something is not important, perhaps you shouldn’t be wasting your time on it. Perhaps it needs to be deleted or saved in one of the folders (apart from the URGENT rather than URGENT boxes) in the event you want it later. However, if you have trouble breaking your habit of responding to unimportant messages, then you may want to create a third mail box called “*NOT IMPORTANT”.
Step 6: Use the above system to process your in-box to empty one or two times daily. It will be simpler should you stay along with it daily. You should be able to practice it in under a quarter-hour each day if you’re really pursuing the system and not getting caught in the temptation to respond to messages that take a lot more than 2 minutes. In the event you get behind, that can happen every once in awhile, don’t panic or drop the system all together, instead, use the system to have caught up. You should be able to process a really backed up in-box with hundreds of messages very quickly. You will definately get faster while you practice using this new method.
Step 7: Schedule 1 or 2 times per day to go through your URGENT and never URGENT boxes and browse, reply to, and forward messages. Make an effort to get these boxes to empty. Do the URGENT box first, then move onto the NOT URGENT box. On days which you have very little time, don’t bother using the NOT URGENT box. If these boxes start getting supported, schedule a more substantial period of time to process them and obtain swept up.
Step 8: Learn how to choose powerfully. This technique doesn’t leave room for you to be indecisive – especially if you are processing your in-box. In the past, when you weren’t certain of how to deal with a note, you almost certainly just left it inside your in-box. You’ll must break that habit. Whenever you process your in-box and your URGENT and never URGENT boxes, ensure it is your goal to select powerfully what to do with each message – just decide, act and don’t spend time.
Step 9: Break reactive habits. For the sake of being more proactive and less reactive in your lifetime, I would recommend that you simply shut off any “you’ve got mail” type reminders. In the daytime, when you visit your email program in order to compose a note to someone, resist the temptation to see your email while you’re at it. Instead, process your mail on the times you might have scheduled for your purpose. Doing all of your email in blocks of scheduled time will assist you to process your email more effectively and intelligently, plus it will assist you to stay focused on the rest of the important tasks you’re working on without getting distracted from your email on a regular basis. You may want to develop exceptions. For instance, if somebody emails you about a consultation later that day, you might want to read that email straight away to determine if any action is necessary prior to the appointment. However, make these types of “read immediately” emails the rare exception and not the norm.
Step 10: Sustain your system. About once monthly, take the time to unsubscribe from your lists which can be sending you mail that isn’t worth your attention any further. Create any filters that could be helpful. Proceed through and delete any saved mail folders that aren’t relevant any longer. Go through your NOT URGENT box if it really has been supported for some time and process it to empty. Examine your body and think about how it may be improved, etc.
Bonus Step: Now, take constantly you’re saving and make a move meaningful with it! Spend it on the 20% of the actions that are going to get 80% from the results. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, read my newsletter on the 80/20 rule
If you appreciate my email system, you will likely love the ebook, “Getting Things Done, The Art of Relaxed Productivity” by David Allen. I actually have most of my clients read this book.