Tame your Inbox!


How much project time do you spend going through your emails box and reading or replying to the messages that don’t really deserve your attention. You can reduce this waste without missing that important message that your customer wants you to act on today! It’s the simple art of doing, deleting, deferring or delegating.

Once you set up your mail system, you are ready to begin managing incoming e-mail. By making your Inbox the central place for receiving important e-mail, you can go through it with the confidence that each item is something you need to deal with. For every message in your Inbox:

  • If it isn’t important, delete it immediately.
  • If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it (reply, file, call, etc.).
  • If it isn’t for you or if you can, delegate (forward) it.
  • If you need to do it, but it takes longer than two minutes (including reading),defer (hold off on) it.
  • If you need it as reference (even if you have decided to defer it), move it into your reference folder. The goal is to reduce the number of times you touch each e-mail message.

Delete it

Delete messages that you don’t need to read. If it is junk, delete it.

Do it: In 2-minute or less

It is amazing what can be done in two minutes. But if a message takes longer than two minutes to deal with, defer it. To get a sense of what two minutes feels like, try timing yourself. Once you have dealt with the message, do one of the following:

  • Delete it if it is something of little consequence.
  • File it in one of your reference folders (for example, 1-Reference).

Delegate it

Sometimes you receive a message that is really meant for someone else to deal with. In these cases, reply and include the person to whom you are delegating the message on the To line. If you want to follow up later, flag it for yourself before sending. In your To-Do Bar, mark the task with the “@Waiting” category.

Defer it

Deferring a message means that you will come back to it later, when you have time. Reasons to defer a message:

  • It cannot be dealt with in less than two minutes.
  • It will take a while to read.
  • It will require a carefully crafted response.
  • It requires additional action in another program (for example, “Need to add to document”).

Read the full article by Melissa MacBeth here: http://tinyurl.com/26v5e7b

Shyam Verma,
PMP, ITIL
Program & portfolio mgnt professional
LinkedIn:spverma. Twitter: Shammy11
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