In the first four installments of the Managing Inbox Overload series we talked about ways to clean up your Inbox and by now, you should no longer be feeling overwhelmed by your Inbox. In fact you should feel empowered and what a great feeling that is! So now its time to commit to keeping your Inbox clean.
Once you’ve finally got your Inbox cleaned out, here are some tips for keeping it that way:
Turn off Your Phone
For 30 minutes to an hour every morning, close your office door and turn off the ringer on your phone so that you can concentrate on planning your day and managing your Inbox (often an integral part of planning your day). If you spend some quality time with your Inbox every day, most of you will be sorting through 50 to 100 emails as opposed to the very large volumes I’ve seen accumulate for folks that neglect to carve out this time.
The flip side of this tactic is that when you get ready to concentrate on tasks, you can take your Outlook offline so that you are not distracted by new emails. You’re empowered to unplug because you know that there will be a time when emails that come in are going to get handled.
One reason many people find themselves overwhelmed by their Inbox is because they legitimately have way too much on their plate. Do you find that you often put off tasks that you know are important and need to get done in favor of other tasks that you believe will add more value? For example, have you been putting off invoicing your customer in favor of billing more hours? Billing more hours is very important, but getting paid for those hours is too!
I found myself in this very situation and for me the solution was hiring a part-time virtual assistant. She’s worth every penny and I can’t believe not only how much more productive I am, but how much better I feel not to have those administrative tasks lingering over my head.
For me, being disciplined is not so much about going on a regimented plan and never deviating from it – life too often gets in the way. I believe being disciplined means that when you are forced to deviate from your regimen, you get back on track as soon as possible. Whether its marathon training or managing your Inbox, taking a break from your regular routine is often a healthy thing as long as that break doesn’t take over as the routine.
If you do get sidetracked as I recently did, instead of beating yourself up, refer back to this series to help you get your Inbox back under control.
I hope this series of posts has been helpful to you and I would love some feedback on how it is working for you so please leave a comment on any of these posts and let me know what you think.
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