I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m a slave to my email inbox.
I find it challenging to keep up with the never-ending stream of correspondence, and I’ve been known to roll my eyes—just a little—at those people who tweet about achieving “Inbox Zero.” An empty inbox is my unicorn… I’m not exactly sure it exists, but I’ll spend my entire life searching for it.
I’m trying to get better at implementing strategies that work within the reality of my life.
The main thing I’m working to master right now with my email is to only touch it once.
I have the bad and unproductive habit of keeping my inbox open and basically checking email all day, reading them as they come in. My tendency is to read or skim the emails as they arrive. If they are urgent, I’ll respond accordingly. Others I’ll quickly reply to because I can (or want to), and then some I leave there for another time.
The problem is the time I waste having to re-read and re-consider the emails when I come back to actually work on them. Rather than taking care of the task at hand, I return to it later and then have to re-evaluate what to do with the task. It basically costs me double time.
Touch it once.
I need to set strategic time to actually check my email, and then decide what to do with each one immediately after I read it. Reply. Delete. File. Delegate. Add to my task management program to finish later.
In the long run, this will save me valuable time from coming back to revisit the same emails over and over again.