I picked up some useful tips:
- Don't use your inbox as a "to do" list...it is only for unread mail.
- Your inbox should be empty most of the time. Leaving email in your inbox slows down your ability to process new email and forces you to revisit old email over and over.
- When you have email in your inbox, you should go through it quickly and do one of the following:
- Delete it
- Delegate it - forward to someone that can handle the email, then remove/archive the email
- Respond, then remove/archive the email
- Defer (move it to a folder for things you don't have time to figure out an action for just yet, but will later)
- Do what the email asks now, then remove/archive the email
- Turn off email notifications...they just stop you from being productive by interrupting your current work.
- Check your email less frequently: You will process 20 new emails at once more quickly than 1 new email 20 different times.
I am doing this both for my work and home email. I moved all my email out of my inbox into a "To Do Email" folder (a "defer" folder). I have empty inboxes now!
Merlin is a great, entertaining speaker. I highly recommend this program. It should be required viewing...you will spend less time in email and more time doing what you want after you watch this.
This 1 hour video is the same talk we got today, but this was recorded from Merlin's visit to Google: