Inbox Who Manages Who?

Bon jour. This is Cyril from Work Smarter, Live Better. Today, I want to talk about one very simple topic which is how to manage your inbox and not let your inbox manage you.

I’m at the moment in my beautiful birth town of Paris. You might see behind me le dome Paris. You might be able to see, yes! The Eiffel Tower. And then we have, Les Invalides. And yes, I’m working in Paris. Well, this week. Next week, TK and the kids are coming to have a bit of a break. But the moment, I’m working with one of the biggest consulting firm, one of the biggest global consulting firm. And I’m working with few of their partners. It’s a few months journey so we do a lot of things. Running efficiency and effectiveness working smarter. But we just had a very interesting discussion on one topic which is inbox management. For a lot of us, inbox is becoming a big problem and emails is becoming a big problem. We receive a lot of emails everyday. And those guys are receiving 300 emails per day. I think for a lot of people probably a bit less but still a lot.

Email are from all kind of different reason. We receive an email for quick read. We receive an email that we need to spend a lot of time reading. We receive email that needs a quick action. We receive email that needs 15 minutes. Some other we need to spend an hour. One of the biggest problem is emails follow us like a little dog everywhere. We have it in our pockets called iPhone. We’ve got it at home. We’ve got it everywhere.

Three very simple tips I want to give you around email management. The first one is Batch. What do I mean by that? Don’t have your inbox open all the time. Don’t check your inbox all the time. Decide two three times a day, less is best, that you are going to do email. Outside of that, you close your inbox. And I don’t suggest that doing first thing in the morning. For most of us, you don’t need to jump on emails first thing in the morning. When come first thing in the morning, your brain is fresh. Why would you want to use it on inbox? So you might want to say 10 or 11 o’clock in the morning, 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock, three times a day. Outside of that, you close your inbox. You either close your iClock or your lotus or you put it on calendar. That’s number one.

My second tip is the one touch one decision. When you decide that its time to do your email, as soon as you touch an email you need to make a decision. Not do it later. That’s procrastination. You decide either you do it now. Less than 5 minutes or anything less than 5 minutes, do it now. More than 5 minutes, decide now when you’re going to do it. So, I receive an email and look at it and say I need half an hour rather than say do it later, open your calendar and say “I’ll do it tomorrow from 10 to 1030 and you book a meeting with yourself in your calendar to do it. So second rule, one touch one decision.

My third rule is that you need to be ruthless with email. I ask a very simple question to the people I coach. Out of 10 emails you are receiving, how many have an impact long term on your performance? Out of 10 emails you are receiving, how many will really have an impact on your performance. And the average answer I get is 1. So if that’s the case, why are we spending so much time on emails? Be ruthless. You don’t have the time to spend so much time. A lot of email should be in the less than 5-minute category.

This is this week’s tip for Work Smarter Live Better. I hope you have a lovely time. If you like it, click on like. I’ll also love to hear about your ideas. If you want to share any way or any tips that you find very useful on how to manage your inbox, please share it below. Write a few things and we’ll start the conversation there. Have a good week. Thanks!

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