Have you ever thought, “How am I ever going to get through all of these emails?”
They really do pile up and I’m here to help. My inspirations was this video and my inbox hasn’t been the same since. Skip to below the video if you don’t have time to watch it.:
Here is the basic premise from Karen Leland. Click her name and you can read her full article.:
Delete: If an email sits in your in-box waiting to be worked on for days, weeks, or even months, you may be putting off the completion of the item for several reasons including: It is too big to handle as is and needs to be broken down into bite size chunks; the item is not clearly defined enough for you to take action on; it is something you don’t really, want, need or intend to do. If this last reason fits, there is no shame in hitting the delete button and saying so-long to that message muddling up your inbox.
Delegate: Just because you received the email message, does not mean you have to be the one to execute it. A great strategy for clearing out your in-box is to transfer it to someone else’s. Considerations, of course, need to be given to the other person’s availability, ability and willingness, but the option of passing on a piece of the work to someone else is a real one. Ask yourself if you really need to be the one to handle an item?
Defer: Many items in your in-box are good ideas you would like to follow up on - just not now. Instead of letting the someday item sit in your active in-box file, create a ‘to do’, ‘pending’ or ‘someday’ folder where you can keep tabs on messages you may want to take action on at some point in the future.
By reflecting on your priorities, goals and commitments you can more easily determine which bits and pieces don’t require action today, but can be put off until tomorrow. The key is to immediately clear the item out of your in-box and move it to another file where you can easily retrieve it when you are ready to work on it.
Ask yourself, Is it essential or important that this be done today or can it wait? Would there be any serious negative consequences if I delayed doing this item?
Exercise: Five Minutes To A Cleaner Inbox
Open your email in-box and then set your watch, alarm clock, computer or iphone on a five-minute timer. Now, starting from the top (the latest email) go through and see how many items you can get completed and moved out of your mailbox using the four D’s - Do, Delete, Delegate or Defer.
I hope this helps you and that this will be a step toward a zeroed out inbox!