Inbox Hero in 3 steps
Would you like 30min to 1hour back each day? That would be more time to spend with your spouse, your kids; or that new business you’d like to start; or more time to focus on your big goals!
With this post in 3 parts, I’ll make you be the Inbox Hero and share practices actionable immediately.
Why? Because with all the time wasted on managing our Inbox, we could all be doing something more useful for ourselves and the organisations we work for!
In the first post, we learnt how to read fewer emails, now it’s time to process emails faster!
#2 How to Process Emails Faster
Now you have fewer emails to read, you are ready to process emails faster and efficiently.
Schedule & Batch Processing!
- Before you start, go offline to avoid being disrupted by immediate responses to your emails!
- Schedule time to process your inbox: after experimenting with different times working in a global organisation and with teams across the globe, I’ve settled on 30 minutes sessions, 4 times a day, scheduled in my calendar.
- I use a Blackberry (with To-Do-Matrix Professional) and whenever I’m on the move with nothing else to do, I’ll also use that time to process emails.
Take Action on First Touch:
- Delete it
- File it for incubation, a Someday project in the future
- File it in your Reference Materials system so you can easily access when it may be helpful. (I won’t cover here how to arrange your Reference Materials system)
If you can take an action on the item, think about those steps:
- Are there multiple Next Actions I should take? If so, consider if these are part of an existing “Project” or define a new “Project” to capture those several Next Actions that need to happen
- If it is a single Next Action, it’s time to deal with it at first touch:
- If it’s going to take less than 2 minutes, do it immediately.
- Delegate it: assign it to someone else and add it to your Waiting For list so you know you are waiting for someone else to accomplish the task to track progress.
- Defer it: if this needs to be done at a specific day and time, schedule it in your diary! Otherwise, add it to your Next Actions lists when you have the time available or when you are in the right context or with the right people.
Get the items out of your inbox, out of your mind, and into a trusted system so you can concentrate on getting the right things done!
Use Keyboard Shortcuts!
A final tip on processing faster: You’ve batched it, you’re applying a workflow. You can now increase speed by using keyboard shortcuts! Spending a few minutes learning Keyboard shortcuts for your email client is a good investment! (here are the keyboard shortcuts for most popular email clients Gmail, Outlook 2010, Apple Mail)
Next, we’ll review how to Respond to Emails efficiently.