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How to efficiently deal with email

ProductivityYour overflowing inbox is a minefield of unanswered questions, untended requests and incomplete tasks. If you listen closely you can hear things slipping through the cracks.

No wonder you open your inbox with a sense of dread.

I get it. I used to be there myself until one day I reached my breaking point. I couldn’t bear the constant nagging from all those voices inside Gmail, each one wanting a piece of my attention and precious time. So for half a day I embarked on the journey to inbox zero. The simple three-step system I created to get there will work for you too. In fact, I use it every day to keep my inbox empty.

How to unpack your email in 20 minutes

This has been a game changer for me and my clients, and I know it will help you too. I call it, Unpacking Your Email, because the word unpacking infers action:  you must do something with the contents.

Step 1: Scan
After you’ve opened the email, scan the contents. It will take you fewer than 10 seconds to determine if you must read further because it is relevant to you.

Step 2: Act
Approach every email with a Next Action Mindset. Every email you open requires you to make three easy decisions to take that next action step:

  1. Delete: If you don’t need it, move it to the trash.
  2. Do: If it takes fewer than 2 minutes, do it now. If it takes longer than 2 minutes, create a task and schedule the next action step in your calendar
  3. Delegate: If it requires action by someone else, forward the email to them.

Step 3: File
The last step allows you to store your emails in a place, other than your inbox, where you can easily retrieve them when necessary. There are two places emails live after being opened: folders and archive. You may move your opened emails to an organized set of folders (the fewer the better) or send them to the archive where you can find them using the search bar.

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