We all know how it goes. You look at your inbox and overwhelm slaps you across the face. A big stick slap…pow! You get caught in the black hole vortex we call you email inbox. First thing in the morning you check it and every second of the day afterwards. It sucks every ounce of mental energy you have.
What was that? You got a new email? Okay, fine, go check it. Your like a dog wanting a treat. Attention pulled and laser focused on your new email that came in.
Email is a remarkable world-changing innovation, but it’s also a productivity crap shoot. You use a ton of mental processing and you’re sucked into things that aren’t the most important thing for the day. Trust me, I’ve battled with this and still do.
But how do you get stuff done you ask?
You’re probably asking well if I don’t check my email then I may miss something important…and you’re right.
I never said don’t check your email. Theres a simple yet effective strategy to master. So simple that I think I may have to charge you to hear it. Ahh, what the heck, here it is.
You’re new inbox now only has 4 folders, Inbox, Processed, Deferred, and BACN. And yes, only 4! It drives me mad seeing the endless amounts of folders in people's inbox. Like you ever go looking through each one. Just make sure you use a system like Outlook or Thunderbird with search capabilities. No more endless list of folders.
The Inbox is where all your incoming emails come in. Should I patent that concept? I know groundbreaking stuff here. If you typically have urgent emails coming in (i.e. RFQs, customer service requests, etc.) you want to check it regularly but it’s where you go from here that makes all the difference.
After you scan through your inbox you move anything that doesn’t need your attention to your deferred folder. This is the folder that says, I’ll get back to you later. Don’t spend any more mental energy on these items and don’e leave them in your inbox. Every time you look at your inbox items you use mental energy.
Your next folder is automated, your BACN folder. This is your “better than spam but not as good as personal email” folder. These emails are often times things you subscribed to but really don’t look at. It’s imperative you create rules for these emails and automatically have them sent to your BACN folder. I use a rule that moves all emails with “unsubscribe” in the body to this folder.
By now you have all your important emails in your Inbox. If you don’t have any more emails then you're lacking in the “Hustle,” a Skylink core value. You should have some form of actionable items.
Go through each item in your email and if it can take 60 seconds or less to reply, then do it now. Once you reply move your emails to the processed folder. If for some reason you need to follow-up with this person if they don’t respond I use a nifty tool called followup.cc. It’s genius!
If for some reason you need to perform an action for an email and it’ll take more than a minute, add it to your task list and move the email to your processed folder. Yes, this is scary but you have the reminder to follow-up on your tasks so after you do what you need to do all you have to do is pull up the email in the processed folder and reply. My entire Skylink life is in Asana.
It’s really that simple. Keep your inbox clean. It reduces stress and allows you to utilize mental energy on more important activities.