What if I could show you a way to shave 15 minutes each day off of the time you spend on your email? Would this really make a difference in your life? Helping you save fifteen minutes per day would free up a lot more than 2,225 hours over the course of the next 25 years. That is equivalent to 285 work days (2,225 hours divided by a typical 8 hour workday = 285 days). That’s more days than a lot of people work in a whole year!
What would you accomplish having an extra year of labor? Would that be worth spending 15 minutes to understand the program I produced for processing your email?
If you’re like lots of people, you may have challenges with your email. Perhaps your in-box is always backed up. It may be so backed up that you would be embarrassed to tell someone just how many messages will be in there. A lot of my clients (before they learned my system) had a backlog of countless hundred messages within their in-box. This caused those to waste time sorting through their messy in-box looking for messages which needed their attention.
But the main problem I find with my clients is that they simply spend a lot of time on their email. I teach my clients to be more proactive and less reactive. It will help these to be more efficient, effective, and successful in their work and private lives. Email supplies a huge temptation to become in a reactive mode. You may have majorly important, even time sensitive goals on your plate, yet you’re still spending time from those goals to read email messages about the most irrelevant things imaginable, and even taking time to respond to those messages!
Lots of people, in an attempt to escape the distraction brought on by their email, choose to bury their heads within the sand by not processing their email for days, leading to a massive backlog that leaves them overwhelmed without any hope of ever fully catching up.
One of the better things about my system is that it’s Very Easy. This will make it simple to learn and implement. However, you almost certainly have years of bad email habits which will need changing and old habits die hard. It’s planning to have a really strong commitment plus some discipline to produce the new habits, but once they’re established, it will be simple and easy , natural.
Step One: Create two new folders named “*URGENT” and “*NOT URGENT”. Put the “*” at first of the folder name so it will sort to the top of your set of folders. You could also us an underscore “_” or any other character for this purpose.
Step 2: Create folders to save emails which you may need later. If you already have these folders, you will need to create some new ones, or rename and reorganize those you might have therefore they make more sense.
Step Three: Figure out how to make use of the filter system in how to change email subjects and set up as many filters as you can for messages that you don’t must see straight away whenever they arrive. For instance, if you are on any email discussion lists, that you get several messages daily or each week, produce a filter that automatically sorts those messages into one of the mail folders. This way they are going to never appear within your in-box and they will be neatly organized into folders.
Step 4: Make sure you have a very good spam filter in place. Everyone receives a lot of spam nowadays, but using a good spam filter will remove the most of it.
Step 5: Learn my system for processing your in-box. You can use this process to empty your in-box quickly, even though it has numerous messages within it. Have your messages sorted from newest to oldest and process the most recent ones first. By doing this, when there is a discussion involving several messages, you won’t respond to an older message, only to later find that your response had not been relevant to the present stage of the discussion. Process your messages within the order they are sorted – one at a time. Don’t ggxmmq to skip around your in-box so as to process the greater important or urgent emails first. Which was the old means of doing things. Trust me, you will be much more efficient should you go through them inside the order they are sitting there inside your in-box (don’t skip around!). Your goal at this stage of processing your in-box is to get it to empty and to sort your messages efficiently and quickly into folders for coping with later. With a second stage you may be actually responding to the most important messages.
Don’t open any messages that you simply don’t need to so that you can decide how to deal with them. Try to make the decision based on the Sender as well as the Subject. If you need to open the message then scan it as fast as possible to help make the decision on how to deal with it. I’m not excited about those “preview windows” simply because they give a temptation to read through emails that you’re not actually ready to deal with yet. You might like to try turning your preview window off, even though this is not a critical element of my system.
Listed below are the 4 alternatives for how to deal with each message. You might want to post these close to your pc while you’re learning the system and establishing new habits.
Delete It: The delete key should become your brand-new best friend. Take joy in each message which you delete because it’s just not important enough to obtain your attention. Think of all time you’re freeing up for other activities. Delete, delete, delete. Your goal should be to delete up to possible.
File It: If you believe you might never must read it or do anything whatsoever along with it, but you may want it later for some reason, then save it in one of the folders. However, don’t use it within your *URGENT or *NOT URGENT folders – these have a different purpose. You may occasionally need to make a whole new folder for saving your messages in an organized fashion.
Under 2 Minutes – Get It Done: When it is something you need to read, or something that is you want to read reply to, or something you want to forward, and you can accomplish it in just 2-minutes, then do it properly then. Then either delete or file your message immediately to obtain it out of your in-box. If it’s likely to take greater than 2 minutes, DON’T DO IT, instead perform the following:
URGENT or NOT URGENT Boxes: In the event the messages needs reading, replying, or forwarding, and also you estimate that it will take more than 2-minutes, move it either to your URGENT box or maybe your NOT URGENT box. The URGENT box ought to be for messages that require action in the next 24-48 hours and also the NOT URGENT box is made for the others. Both of these boxes are for important messages only! If something is irrelevant, perhaps you shouldn’t be squandering your time into it. Perhaps it ought to be deleted or saved in one of your folders (other than the URGENT and NOT URGENT boxes) in case you want it later. However, if you have a hard time breaking your habit of answering unimportant messages, then you might want to develop a third mail box called “*NOT IMPORTANT”.
Step 6: Utilize the above system to process your in-box to empty once or twice daily. It will be easier in the event you stay on top of it daily. You must be able to practice it in under a quarter-hour each day if you’re really pursuing the system and never getting caught in the temptation to answer messages that take a lot more than 2 minutes. In the event you get behind, which will happen from time to time, don’t panic or drop the program altogether, instead, use the system to have caught up. You will be able to process a very supported in-box with hundreds of messages very quickly. You will definately get faster as you practice using this new method.
Step 7: Schedule 1 or 2 times per day to undergo your URGENT and NOT URGENT boxes and read, reply to, and forward messages. Try to get these boxes to empty. Carry out the URGENT box first, then move onto the NOT URGENT box. On days that you have very little time, don’t bother with all the NOT URGENT box. If these boxes start getting backed up, schedule a more substantial amount of time to process them and acquire swept up.
Step 8: Learn to choose powerfully. This technique doesn’t leave room for you to be indecisive – especially if you are processing your in-box. Previously, whenever you weren’t absolutely clear on how to deal with a message, you almost certainly just left it inside your in-box. You’ll have to break that habit. Once you process your in-box and your URGENT rather than URGENT boxes, make it your primary goal to select powerfully how to deal with each message – just decide, take action and don’t waste time.
Step 9: Break reactive habits. In the interest of being more proactive and much less reactive in your own life, I would recommend that you simply switch off any “you’ve got mail” type reminders. During the day, when you go to your email program in order to compose information 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 the purpose. Doing your email in blocks of scheduled time will help you to process your email more efficiently and intelligently, and it will help you to remain focused on all of those other important tasks you’re concentrating on without getting distracted by your email on a regular basis. You might want to earn some exceptions. For instance, if somebody emails you about an appointment later on that day, you might want to read that email immediately to determine if any action is necessary prior to the appointment. However, make these kinds of “read straight away” emails the rare exception rather than the standard.
Step 10: Keep your system. About once each month, take the time to unsubscribe from the lists that are sending you mail that isn’t worth your attention any longer. Create any filters that might be helpful. Go through and delete any saved mail folders that aren’t relevant any longer. Go through your NOT URGENT box if it has been backed up for quite a while and process it to empty. Examine your system and consider how it can be improved, etc.
Bonus Step: Now, take constantly you’re saving and do something meaningful with it! Spend it on the 20% of the actions that will get 80% in the results. In the event you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my newsletter on the 80/20 rule
If you want my email system, you will likely love the publication, “Getting Things Done, The skill of Stress Free Productivity” by David Allen. We have most of my clients look at this book.