“‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free…” ~From the Shaker song – “Simple Gifts” – written in 1848 and sung by the Ingalls family at Thanksgiving on Little House on the Prairie.
This song makes me think about Thanksgiving because it reminds me of the simple things like gathering with family and friends and being thankful. It also reminds me that the biggest challenge many of my clients face in getting and staying organized is having a SIMPLE SYSTEM. The goal of having a simple, easy to implement system is to have a work environment that not only functions well but supports who you are in your business and your life.
Here’s the thing about implementing a simple system – it’s like a hobby – the more you practice, the better you get; the better you get, the more you like it; the more you like it, the more you do it! And it doesn’t have to be complicated; it just requires commitment, discipline, determination, and perseverance.
In my book, Enough is Enough Get Control of Your Stuff – One Woman’s Insight into an Organized Life, an entire chapter is dedicated to Taming the Technology Tiger. But here is one tip to get you started on the road to a clutter-free inbox:
First, ask yourself, “Would I go to my regular mailbox every day and only take out what I want or need and leave the rest”? Of course not. So why do you do that with your email inbox? Remember, your email inbox, like your regular mailbox IS A LOADING DOCK, not a final destination for things you don’t need or want or want to deal with.
So, start by sorting your inbox by “Sender.” Then go down the list and delete all of the emails that you know you no longer need. And be realistic. Are you REALLY going to read the e-zines that are a year or two old? (If so, create a folder called “Read File” and drag all of those into it, where they can live until you find the time to read them (or not)).
What about the email that you were tracking to make sure something got done? Was the due date May 2016? If it’s not done by now, it’s a sure sign that something needs to be done to your inbox immediately! Remember, you can highlight multiple emails and delete all at once, so if you have 52 emails from Sue Avery and you need none of them, highlight and delete them all at once. Stick with this simple process and you won’t believe how quickly you can move unnecessary emails out of your inbox, and out of your way.
Stay tuned for the next steps on what to do with the emails that are left and how to keep the backlog from coming back. If you simply can’t wait until my next post, you can head on over to Amazon to purchase my book, where I’ve devoted an entire chapter to Taming the Technology Tiger.