Happy Clean Up Your Inbox Week (January 25-29)! I’m not kidding. Marsha Eagan, Email Productivity Expert, created this week 3 years ago as a way of challenging us to rethink how we use email.
According to her press release (1/6/10), it is estimated that 247 BILLION email messages are sent EACH DAY. That is the same as if email users produced messages greater in size than over 16,000 copies of the complete works of Shakespeare EVERY SECOND.
Granted, we live in a world where communication by email is a given. It is a format that has vastly changed how we communicate and operate – in many ways for the better. But it is a vehicle that requires thoughtful usage. How much of your time each day is spent…
- reading and responding?
- reading and deciding to deal with it later?
- reading and “hiding” it in a folder?
- reading and following some idea down the Rabbit Hole?
…most of which requires that you remember what you were doing BEFORE you opened it up and then bringing your focus back to where you started.
So how am I celebrating this week? Two ways- one structural and one habitual. I set aside a specific time to go though my email accounts (fortunately I only use 2 – one for business and one for personal mail) and used those familiar Organizing Principles of:
- SORTING (forwarding from my personal account to my business account or in reverse as the topic dictated)
- WEEDING (trashed without even opening the junk – helps a lot to have a good filter)
- ASSIGNING A HOME and LABELING (this was the big time commitment for me- setting up really clear folders upfront makes a HUGE difference)
My plan was to get each account down to 1 page of current, active emails with a clear Next Action Step. That’s the structure that gave me a solid starting point. The habit now involves regular planned daily sorting, weeding, and assigning so that my inbox stays in fighting trim.
Next step? Declare a Clean Up Your Folders Week!