don't let email run your life
I just read an interesting article about how to better handle your email. Thank you Jay. Jay's article links to 43 folders' article about keeping your inbox at zero.
Now, my email inbox isn't empty, but I'd say I'm not too bad at it.
Here are the rules I try to live by:
- It's amazing how much time it takes to keep switching between working/emailing/working/emailing. Stop wasting time. Disable all notification that you have new messages.
- Since you'll no longer be notified you have new email, read your email a few times per day. I generally do when I arrive in the morning and after lunch (sometimes also before going home).
- When you read your email, try to apply the 5 D's:
- Delete it (a lot of email can be deleted)
- Do it. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.
- Delay it. If it takes more than 5 minutes, put it off, schedule some time, and do it later.
- Delegate it. Lots of things you are asked to do shouldn't be done by you, but by someone else. Send it to the right person.
We have a habit of thinking that all of our email is urgent. So you really have to think about it quite seriously, is your email really urgent? Is it so urgent that you should lose overall productivity because the effect of not answering it immediately is that important? It's hard to come to that realisation, but chances are, your email isn't that urgent.