Between the time I logged off my computer at the end of a work day last week and logged back on the next morning, I received 20 emails. Not an alarming number, but quite enough for the overnight. What I receive during the work day varies, but one thing’s for sure: there’s a lot to manage. Day or night.
More than I have time for.
And I’m really not managing all that well, truth be told. A fly-by read at 10 a.m. is almost always buried by the 3 p.m. inbox viewing, for example. So sometimes, I’ve been misremembering important dates, directives, deadlines, apppointments, and meetings or worse … not remembering at all. And folks wait … probably much too long … for my responses.
It’s hard to stay on top of the inbox and just as hard to find time to write for the outbox. Read. Act. File. Respond. Unsubscribe. Delete. The verbs of email. Notice “manage” is not among them.
So I scheduled a 45 minute chunk of time to do just that. Manage. In less than 60 minutes, here’s what happened:
- Over 150 emails deleted
- 4 emails received responses
- 13 meetings/dates/deadlines recorded in calendar
- 2 emails filed in ongoing folders
- 3 notes taken for future action
- 2 emails printed for future action
Forty-three emails remain in my inbox, acting at this point as a filing cabinet of sorts. I’ll be needing to do something with those 43, just not today. I don’t want to file them … because out of sight, out of mind… so they’re in an email limbo of sorts, and I’m okay with that.
So here’s the new email plan I’m promising to live by:
I will only check email when I have the time to act on its contents, i.e., Read. Act. File. Respond. Unsubscribe. Delete. And manage.
Up next: personal accounts.