I don’t believe in email. I’m an old-fashioned girl. I prefer calling and hanging up.
~ Sarah Jessica Parker
In the past, I extolled the virtue of having a SIMPLE SYSTEM as the key to getting and staying organized. And I gave away some of my best tips for starting to de-clutter your e-clutter. Now I am here to give you the next steps! By now you should have moved all of the unnecessary emails out of your inbox. So now it’s time to face your inbox and realize that the goal is to process instead of putting out fires. “How in the world do I do that?” you ask. It’s simple and elegant! For every single email, you will now and forevermore MAKE 1 OF 5 CHOICES:
Let It Go. How do you Let Go of an email? Delete it.
Let It Go To Someone Else. How do you Delegate an email? Forward it. A quick and easy way to track those that you delegate is to ‘blind copy’ yourself on these and when they come back to you, drag them either to your tasks on the dates they are due, or create a folder called PENDING RESPONSE and put them there to track.
Do It Now. How do you Do It Now? Use my “2 minutes or less” rule – so as emails come into your inbox if you can pop them out into someone else’s “court” in two minutes or less, just do it. During this de-clutter process, you can choose to either do all of these now or drag them to an AWAITING MY RESPONSE folder to do when you have the time.
Move to a Future Reference Folder. For all emails that you may need to ‘refer’ to later but don’t need to take action on now, simply click on one email or group of emails and drag them to an appropriate Future Reference Folder in your inbox or save to your hard drive. You may need to create new folders in your inbox or hard drive to store these.
Move to a Further Action Folder. For all of the remaining emails that require you to “take further action on,” here’s my suggestion: Set up a “to do” system in your folders. Call it COMMAND CENTRAL. Under Command Central, create a folder that says ACTION THIS WEEK, and one that says NO DEADLINE. Then when the email comes into your inbox, you can move it to the appropriate folder, and then work out of that folder, not the inbox. The big key here is processing as you go so you don’t end up with the backlog you started with EVER AGAIN. As I like to say, “Process people, PROCESS”!!!
I have so much more to share on this topic and you can find it all in my book, Enough is Enough Get Control of Your Stuff available on Amazon. There are also many ways you can work with me. I’d love to help you de-clutter!
Here’s to an empty email loading dock coming to a computer near you soon!