Time Management: Reduce Email Clutter

If you're like most people, every month the list of to-dos, appointments and demands grows larger. There are times when life can be a little overwhelming. Are you ready to simplify your days so you can live life on your terms?

email clutterA little technology can go a long way in getting your life in order while saving time and minimizing stress. But, technology that causes more stress isn't really helping you. E-mail has become a great source of stress for a lot of people, including yours truly. Where do you start?

Go on an e-mail diet. Unsubscribe from EVERY electronic mailing and commercial list that you never read. For me, this cut down about 20% of my daily e-mail. This only takes a little time but will pay long-term dividends. Most e-mail lists offer a way to unsubscribe near the bottom of the e-mail. It's actually the law. If they don't and you can't seem to get off the list, then block the e-mail using your e-mail software's tools. For those on Facebook, you should stop all of the notifications from being sent to you. If you love Facebook, set a time each day to get on and catch up.

DRAFT your e-mail. You'll be amazed at what a difference following this quick tip will do for your e-mail inbox. It's an acronym that stands for "Discard," "Refer," "Act," "File," or "Table." Here's what they all mean…
 

  • DISCARD: Trash it. If it will never be retrieved again, don't keep it. Remember that your e-mail folders are for storing information and resources, not a dead storage place. Just delete it.
  • RESPOND: If someone else can respond to the e-mail for you, or if someone else needs the information, pass it on or give it up! Don't get caught in a paper trail jail. Here's where some of you need to be aware of what you do to others by passing on trivial information. Most of us don't care about seeing the redneck lion (a dog shaved to look like a lion.) While I enjoy humor as much as anyone, this takes time and some folks don't appreciate it. Your friends will like you much more if you don't send them this kind of e-mail clutter. Try to keep this type of "information" limited to Facebook or some other type of social media site.
  • ACT: Act on it now. Don't procrastinate. Answer routine e-mail immediately. If not, the time needed to tackle your e-mail later on can snowball! This will created a new source of stress.
  • FILE: File it in subfolders. If you don't have these setup already, start with major categories and then get more detailed as warranted. You can have subfolders of subfolders but it's probably not wise to go much deeper than this. There are other tricks to help in finding that filed e-mail later.
  • TABLE: Table it. If you need it at some time in the near future, other than today, place it in a simple "follow-up" system for easy, quick access! Use this sparingly and set aside a time on your schedule to "follow-up."

Set a Computer Curfew. Give yourself a "computer curfew" and plan to check your e-mail at only certain times of the day. By setting limits, e-mail will be less likely to take over your entire day. This goes double for Facebook time.You've Got Mail

Quotes:
"Productivity is determined not by work… but by EFFECTIVE actions disguised as work." — Doug Firebaugh

"You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great." —  Les Brown

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right." — Napoleon Hill