Inbox Zero Managing Email Overload with Action Based Email Christian Veillette M.D., M.Sc., FRCSC Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Shoulder & Elbow Reconstructive Surgery Toronto Western Hospital University Health Network Email: email@example.com
Learn a system for handling email overload
Understand the difference between checking email and processing email
Problem of email overload is taking a toll on all our time, productivity, and sanity
Lack a cohesive system for processing our messages and converting them into appropriate actions as quickly as possible
1995 first email account
Did not need a system
Email now one source for all incoming and outgoing information
Only way you are going to succeed is figuring out how to deal with high volume email
Remember - Life outside email
Time & Attention are finite.
Time & Attention are finite. Concept: Joel Spolsky
Quickly answering a few escalating questions about each email message in my inbox:
What does this message mean to me, and why do I care?
What action, if any, does this message require of me?
What’s the most elegant way to close out this message and the nested action it contains?
Email’s just a medium
One place for anything
Process to zero
Convert to actions
What is Processing? More than checking Less than responding Decide what action to take with each email
Action based email
What are your actions?
The Processing Habit? “ We are what we frequently do” - Aristotle If you want to stop being part of the majority whose ass is getting kicked by email every day, it’s time to get serious about improving your habits.
Do Email Less
Ultimate Goal - Spend less time playing with your email and more time doing stuff
Say no to crack(berry) - “always on” approach to email
“ What if I ‘miss’ something?”
Schedule email dashes - ganging your related email work into a focused few minutes of hard-edged activity performed on a regular schedule
Benefits of the scheduled email dash
Gets you out of the perpetual notification business
allowing you to focus on your non-email work without interruption or distratction
Gives you more contextual insight into your true priorities
rather than letting the existence of new mail always equate the need for your instant and undivided attention
slightly higher-level vantage point lets you choose richest targets in context
dash format forces you to wisely pick best use of your time
surprisingly many “crises” will resolve themselves between dashes
Regular schedule firewalls your time and attention
ensures that you won’t get so absorbed in hitting “Get new mail” that the real “thinking work” gets short shrift
Noisy, frequent, and non-urgent items which can be dealt with all at a pass and later
“ friend” requests and similar announcements from community sites like Facebook or Flickr
mailing lists and subscribed forum threads
regular updates like newsletters and office memos
non-spam store updates, coupons, and sale announcements
When you check your email and find yourself groaning “Ugh, this again?” consider creating a filter.
Thank you The Orthopaedic Internet: A Collaborative Resource