Quick Tips, Time Management

Serenity Tip: Email is Someone Else’s Opinion…

…Of how you should spend your time.

Today’s tip can bring an astonishing change in how you deal with email. Take a look at your inbox and you’ll see it’s not a reflection of your priorities, your agenda, and how you should best spend your time. It’s other people’s opinion of where your precious minutes should go, their agitations for your attention and their ruses to distract you.

Serenity Tip: Email is someone else's opinion of how to spend your time

This mantra has been enormously helpful to me in dealing with email. Keeping it top of mind whenever I check my messages has saved me numerous times from being sucked into activities I wouldn’t otherwise choose. Everything from “sale starts today” to “review last night’s restaurant” to “take our survey” falls in this category, and many more messages besides.

Here’s an ordered look at what I try to do, each time I check email (which, by the way, experts tell us should be far less often than we’re accustomed to):

  1. Is there anything from my nearest and dearest?
    > My family are my VIPs: they don’t waste my time and they don’t cry wolf.
  2. What can I unsubscribe from?
    > The load will only get worse unless we take regular steps to declutter. This also applies to turning off notifications from social media channels. You don’t need to know every time someone tweets about you.
  3. What can I delete without reading?
    > There are newsletters I like to peruse sometimes, but I don’t need to read every message.
  4. What’s here that’s mildly interesting, but is someone else telling me how to spend my time?
    > Resist, resist, resist!
  5. What might I want to reference, so I should set a rule to plonk the message directly into a folder?
    > If I’m in the mood to visit my favourite cafe, I’ll check this location for any special offers.
  6. What can I deal with later in an email blitz session, when my energy is lower?
    > I’m not there yet, but I applaud the idea of a dedicated email assault, once or twice a day.

My day job is one which is email-heavy and requires almost constant checking, so I’m fanatical about controlling the impact of email elsewhere in my life. How about you? What email tips would you share?

A Spoonful of Serenity

A spoonful of serenityHere’s the regular round-up of information which caught my eye this week. And yes, some of these did arrive by email!

On Monday, I’ll be wrapping up the second serenity topic, To-Do List Tyranny, and inviting you to get involved in the third of twenty-six themes.

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6 Comment

  1. Reply
    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie
    January 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Pauline. Good gravy, girl. This Serenity Project is amazing. High quality, thought provoking. Life changing.

    Thank you.

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      January 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Julie, I’m fast running out of ways to thank you for your support, so how about “Kiitos”? That’s thank you, in Finnish. But you are well-traveled, so you probably knew that.

  2. Reply
    Sandie Docker
    February 1, 2017 at 2:35 am

    I definitely have some ‘unscubscribing’ I could do. And I really wish I was better at only checking my email at set times. Smart phones have a lot to answer for – telling you every 5 seconds you have mail!!!

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      My phone drives me nuts. I’ve turned off as many notifications as I can but I’m sure it has a mind of its own!

  3. Reply
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
    February 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Great reminder, Pauline. I’m one who tries to be polite and respond to some emails that I should just delete. I think of one company that wanted to send me something they wanted me to review on my blog. It was not something I would use, though it was beautiful, and I have a strict policy of only mentioning things on my blog that are relevant to the blog AND something I actually use and can heartily recommend to my readers. I took the time to write a polite response: Your [ ] is beautiful and clearly high quality, but it is not something that I would use, etc, etc. Well, this person actually wrote back in quite a whiny and insistent way. And when I did not respond to that email, he sent me two more! Since then I’ve resisted my upbringing more often and simply hit Delete!

    1. Reply
      Pauline
      February 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Jean, I get a similar sense from book bloggers that some people (authors, in this case) act as though they’re entitled to air time on a blog, when of course it’s purely at the blogger’s discretion what to feature and we should thank them heartily when they choose to give us space! How funny you mention your upbringing: yes, email simply wasn’t factored into those etiquette lessons!

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