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Managing your email tool - Smarter Everyday

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If you’re constantly checking your emails, if your inbox just keeps growing and growing and if you can’t help but sigh when you receive a new message, this tool is for you. You can use email in a way …

If you’re constantly checking your emails, if your inbox just keeps growing and growing and if you can’t help but sigh when you receive a new message, this tool is for you. You can use email in a way that supports your work, rather than hindering it. If you’re already an Inbox Zero master, maybe you know someone that might benefit from this tool.

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  • 1. Managing Your email If email rules your working day, you’ve failed. It’s time to usurp the demon king of email and rule your inbox. Head over to your inbox now and start processing your emails. Who this tool is for If you’re constantly checking your emails, if your inbox just keeps growing and growing and if you can’t help but sigh when you receive a new message, this tool is for you. You can use email in a way that supports your work, rather than hindering it. If you’re already an Inbox Zero master, maybe you know someone that might benefit from this tool. What you will get out of it An empty inbox that stays that way and keeps you focused on your real work. What you’ll need • 1-2 hours free of interruptions to set up • Access to your email with ability to set up folders and rules • For best results use after the Project Focus Tool and alongside the Daily Review. Tools created by www.peoplewhodo.co.uk CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO WORK SMARTER.
  • 2. The tool Don’t check your emails constantly Find a new default setting. Turn off notifications and check emails only two or three times a day. Schedule this time in your calendar. (If you need help on this, see our ‘Managing Your Calendar’ tool.) Manage expectations If people are used to getting a reply from you instantly, let them know that you are changing your habits and will only be checking emails at certain times of the day. You can do this when you next speak to them or by inserting a signature like ‘I only check emails at 11am and 4pm.’ Change the culture If you believe others have expectations that you should be looking at your emails at all times, use the argument that you’re actually getting work done when you’re not checking them. If it’s urgent, perhaps it’s quicker to pick up the phone instead? Maybe you can lead by example. The next time you have a quick, urgent question, why not pick up the phone instead of pinging an email? An effective system to process your email 1. Create the following folders: @Action Here you will file all the emails that you need to action. Visit this folder every day and schedule the related actions/tasks in your calendar. Don’t forget to look carefully through this folder during your daily review. (See the Daily Review tool.) @Backburner This might be a good place for newsletters you’re interested in and other unimportant emails. Only place emails here if you really don’t need to look at them again. @Waiting This holds emails reminding you that someone needs to come back to you on something, more on this later. @Filed Here is where you file away those emails you have finished with and need to keep. Don’t forget that you already have a Trash folder, it’s an important part of your system. 2. Store your filed emails in one place Move your current folders of filed emails to the @Filed folder. From now on store all your filed emails in a single folder. It’s faster to run a search for an email than go through your folders to find it. (Some people still find it helpful to keep temporary folders, for example when they are related to a discrete project. That’s fine, just move the folder to @Filed when its over.)
  • 3. 3. Use @Waiting for to keep track Create a filter that moves any email received from you (but where your name is not in the To: field) to the folder @Waiting. When you send an email you want to track, BCC yourself and it will appear in the @Waiting folder. Checking this folder should be part of your weekly review. (For more on this, see the Weekly Review tool.) Running the system Now you can start using the system. Go through your inbox every day and clear it by filing away your emails. 1. Archive Put anything that’s older than a week or two (or whatever cut off point you are comfortable with) in the @Filed folder. It’s ancient history by now. 2. Bin it Look through all the remaining emails in your inbox and delete anything that is junk or you don’t need to keep. Unsubscribe from every newsletter that you never read. Managed to clear your inbox? Share your success on Twitter: @NokiaAtWork #smartereveryday 3. Keep it for later in the @Backburner Move any emails to the @Backburner folder if they aren’t urgent but you hope to read them at some point in the future. Make sure these items aren’t taking up headspace. If they are, you probably need to rethink where they need to go. 4. Your @Action folder All that is left now is to deal with your @Action emails. Do the upfront thinking now: what needs to happen next? Can you deal with them in two minutes? Deal with them now. Otherwise, put an action in your calendar and deal with it then. If you find that you have numerous emails you can process in two minutes, schedule a time that suits you to deal with them all at once. You need to inspect your @Action folder every day, as part of your Daily Review. Our Daily Review tool can help you with that.

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