…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.
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):
- 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.
- 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.
- What can I delete without reading?
> There are newsletters I like to peruse sometimes, but I don’t need to read every message.
- What’s here that’s mildly interesting, but is someone else telling me how to spend my time?
> Resist, resist, resist!
- 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.
- 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
- Insights on why many of us are not productive in the office.
- 23 ways to sneak me-time into your day (although, please don’t meditate while driving and I believe bread isn’t good for ducks…)
- And, returning to today’s tip, here’s one woman’s experience of giving up email entirely.
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.