Rabu, 16 Juli 2008

Advanced Common Sense - E-Mail Edition

How much time do you spend on SPAM? I recieve upward of a thousand e-mails a day, and about 2% of those e-mails, I want to read, and maybe 5% I have asked for.

I encourage you to spend an hour of your time watching Merlin Mann give a talk at Google about managing e-mail. (Video for Merlin's "Inbox Zero" talk, 7/25/07). The good folks at Google don't waste a lot of time on numbskulls, and this guy's got an amazing approach to solving your e-mail inbox woes.

By watching the "43 folders" presentation, I spent an hour of my life saving exponentially more down the line by LEARNING about how to manage my e-mail. Inbox Zero is the source.

One citation that Merlin made was about David Allen, and his book - Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity he talks about "Advanced Common Sense" - it could not be any more obvious, but the trouble is we don't always do the obvious.

Processing - that is, doing something, isn't about checking your e-mail, it's about taking action on every e-mail, from deleting it, to responding to it. Yet, the next step is to not respond to 200 e-mails, it's processing them, and decide what it means to you - what actions do I have to take as a result of this e-mail?

Five things can you do with the e-mail:
  • Delete (or archive)
  • Forward/Delegate (give yourself a reminder to make sure the delegated task happened)
  • Reply/Respond
  • Defer - this can be tricky
  • Do - if it's something you can do, do it now.
Your inbox should be for something you haven't read yet.

Now, watch the video.
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