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12 Dec

Are your e-mails given VIP-status?

Datum: 2012-12-12 11:00

Do you have a to-do-list full of tasks you nev­er work with?

Did you once cre­ate a well-struc­tured, com­plete list of all the things you need to do in accor­dance with how an excel­lent to-do-list should be con­struct­ed, for instance in Outlook’s Tasks”-function, but it has now been a while since you even looked at it?

You nev­er get to the list since you keep get­ting flood­ed with e‑mails.

Per­haps you have even expe­ri­enced that you spent such a large part of the day pro­cess­ing e‑mails that you had to do the non-email-relat­ed tasks while work­ing over­time or even anoth­er day, when you are even short­er of time?

You have allowed your e‑mails to always be pri­or­i­tized pri­or to every­thing else; they are giv­en access to the VIP-line. You give your e‑mails the high­est pri­or­i­ty, regard­less what they concern. 

One and only one list

As of today, choose to use your list when deter­min­ing what to do next, rather than pri­mar­i­ly deriv­ing tasks from your inbox. 

If you make a habit of cre­at­ing to-do-tasks out of the e‑mails you can­not respond to instant­ly, the to-do-list will give a much more com­pre­hen­sive overview of all the things you have to do. 

If you do not do this, you will not make the tasks which did not orig­i­nate in an e‑mail vis­i­ble and might unin­ten­tion­al­ly neglect them. They will not be pri­or­i­tized sim­ply due to your atten­tion being con­stant­ly direct­ed towards the inbox.

Do this

  • When you check your e‑mails; imme­di­ate­ly reply to the e‑mails that will take less than two min­utes to respond to. Cre­ate a to-do-task out of any e‑mail that will take longer than this to process, even if it only entails tak­ing time to read it through thor­ough­ly and for­mu­late a more exten­sive answer. 

  • If you want to, you could save the e‑mails you need to com­pose replies to in an Reply to”-folder, but if you move an e‑mail into the fold­er, also make sure to make a note in your to-do-list that you have the inten­tion to answer it. If you don’t, you will again end up with two lists; your ordi­nary list and the fold­er with the unan­swered e‑mails. You do not need to be over­ly explic­it when for­mu­lat­ing an answer an e‑mail”-task.
    Writ­ing Answer Anette” and mak­ing a ref­er­ence to the e‑mail in the fold­er (by for instance link­ing to it, if this is pos­si­ble in your e‑mailing soft­ware), will suffice. 

  • Make a com­mit­ment to prac­tic­ing man­ag­ing e‑mails in this way. 

  • If you catch your­self with using the inbox as our to-do-list again, fin­ish up work­ing with the e‑mail you are pro­cess­ing and then cre­ate to-do-tasks out of the remain­ing longer e‑mails in order to get your­self out of the inbox” and get going with work­ing on the task that, accord­ing to the to-do-list, actu­al­ly has the high­est pri­or­i­ty right now. 
    That might be respond­ing to an e‑mail, but the dif­fer­ence from before is that you have now cho­sen to do it in rela­tion to all oth­er things you have to do – not only due to receiv­ing it through an e‑mail.

E‑mails now stand in line as well

If you choose to pri­or­i­tize tasks by pick­ing them from the to-do-list rather than giv­ing way for e‑mails, you will with greater ease do the things you pre­vi­ous­ly had dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting done. 

You will pri­or­i­tize con­scious­ly as opposed to being blind­ed by the e‑mail inbox and hav­ing all your time con­sumed by e‑mails. You will get more of the right things done on time and will be able to plan ahead rather than get­ting things done last minute. 

What is your way?

How do you keep your e‑mail inbox in check? Write a com­ment to share your expe­ri­ence with others!