Yesterday I shared the idea of inbox zero and the concept of the 4 d’s when dealing with email – delete, delegate, do, defer.
Here’s a tip that works in conjunction with the inbox zero idea – don’t touch email twice. I know myself how easy it is to open up an email, pontificate about answering it and then close it down again, especially if someone has sent you something to read or that you might need to reference at a later date. So it sits in your inbox and every so often you go back through it and open it again. Well don’t! File it away under “important” or “read later” but get it out of eyeshot.
Dealing with email once and trying to reach inbox zero is partly about productivity but more importantly it’s about the cognitive load that email has on our brains. If we can see emails which have been left for us to deal with later our brain has to keep those thoughts whilst also trying to dedicate itself to whatever task or problem you’re trying to solve. This can increase your levels of stress and anxiety.
So if 2019 is about setting new working practices so that you can achieve more, feel less stressed and obtain the work-life balance you crave then really think about how you tackle your emails.
Since employing these tactics of inbox zero and don’t touch email twice I’ve literally felt lighter and better able to cope with the other parts of my job. Combined with obsessively updating my to do list, these small but significant tactics help me achieve more and feel better able to cope.