How many emails do you have in your inbox? Do you open it up knowing that somewhere in there there are actions you need to take, but you just don’t quite know where to start? So you start at the top and never quite further than the top few – and the emails just keep on growing…
3 months ago I had 2 inboxes with over 2000 emails sitting in them in a bit of a jumble. I did do fairly regular clear outs, but I (like many people I know) also used my inbox as an action list – so emails remained in there until the action was complete. This meant that in busy times I reverted to tackling the urgent tasks over the important tasks – as they were the ones topping the list.
Now I have 25 emails in the inboxes across both accounts and I’m using my email for what it’s intended – as a communication tool. My actions are nicely organised in another tool – which is (almost) as easy and simple to manage as flagging an email in my inbox!
So how did I get here over the last few months? What did I discover which I’ve been looking for for years in my time exploring time management that I haven’t seen before?
The catalyst for sorting out my emails was working with Kate Gerry on her Inbox Revolution programme! Kate has some great tools and tips for managing, sorting and getting emails under control. Simple tips (which I’m sure Kate won’t mind me sharing), like doing a search for the word “unsubscribe” to get a full list of all the mailing lists you are signed up for – then either unsubscribe, delete or at least auto-filter them into a separate folder so that they never appear in your inbox. That way you can choose when you have time to look at and sort through them.
The approach Kate worked through with me is pretty simple – what I found challenging was adapting it for my way of working, maintaining the good things that I do already and getting used to a slightly different way of managing my interaction with email. For this part coaching was critical – to be able to talk through the challenges I was having and have an independent person to help me look from different perspectives and work out what fitted best. Without the coaching and ongoing support I probably would have tried the system, not quite got there and eventually concluded that the system wasn’t for me.
Why have I waited 3 months to talk about all this? I’ve just come out of a very busy few weeks of work where email was the last thing on my mind. The system has been tested to the full – and it survived. The email overwhelm which would usually take me several days to work through (and still not really be sorted) took me no more than a day – and my action list is focused and organised – giving me the time to write this blog! If you’d told me this was possible three months ago I really wouldn’t have believed you!
Just think how much time you spend sorting and managing emails. Imagine if you had that time to spend doing something else! How valuable is your time?
I’m passionate about finding out about and sharing the new things I learn to help people to make the best use of their time (which is why I loved Kate’s programme so much). I coach business owners around all aspects of time management and how to truly make sure you are delivering real value from your time. For a complimentary, no obligation chat about how you could be making the most of your time contact me or like my facebook page. I’d love to hear from you