Help, I’m drowning!
Like many busy business people my email inbox was a constant source of frustration for me. I regularly receive about 150 emails per day, after spam has been deleted. Because I did not have a consistent system to process my emails, the number sitting in my Inbox grew to well over 3500. More than 600 of those had a little red flag ticked to say, ‘I’m important’. The rest were slightly less important but for some reason (often obscure and forgotten) too important to delete.
At various times I had set up folders in which to file these somewhat important emails. When I counted I had 35 folders under various headings. However, a combination of the busyness of my days, the inconsistency of my approach, and the differences between monitoring emails on my mobile versus on my PC, all contributed to a failed strategy. This resulted in email overwhelm and feelings of resentment and frustration whenever I checked my email.
What happened that brought change?
I sat in on a course presented by Productivity Expert Dermot Crowley, author of the best seller Smart Work. I did not even have my laptop with me, but listened eagerly as he showed his productivity principles and the power of MS Outlook. People around me in the room were riveted as Dermot showed them step by step how to manage their work calendar, tasks and emails using Outlook. Fortunately for me, participants in Dermot’s course receive a copy of his step by step guide to using MS Outlook. I sat down two days later and applied Dermot’s wisdom hoping for the same sense of liberation I had seen in the training room.
I can report that in 3 hours I had gone through Dermot’s steps and set up Outlook to work better for me. I set things up based on his framework. Then I went through my 3500 emails and cleared my inbox.
Getting to Inbox Zero felt OHHHH So GOOD!
I was surprised at the sense of liberation I felt seeing zero emails in my Inbox. It was an amazing sense of relief. I had a very strong emotional response which indicated to me just how much this issue had been undermining my overall sense of being in control of my work life.
Dermot taught me NOT to use my inbox as my default ‘to do’ list. I began to use Outlook’s Task function. I linked any emails that were related to important tasks to the task itself. A surprisingly simple process. I started to use Outlook calendar properly and have done so for the past 6 months.
I have noticed when I process my emails each day I have a greater sense of control. My decision making is much better. I waste less time around emails. The new system works!
At the end of each week as I clear the inbox and assess my week and plan for the week ahead I can honestly say I have inbox zero. It makes my weekend so much sweeter.
Your Opportunity to Achieve Inbox Zero on November 14, 2016:
What if you too had a system for achieving inbox zero? Would you like to get back 5 hours a week that emails are sucking out of your life? What if you could learn and implement this system in just one day?
Dermot and I are conducting a rare public workshop on November 14 at The Hills Lodge, Castle Hill in North- West Sydney. Our promise is this: Give us a day, and we’ll give you a month! [All Details here]