Getting Shit Done – E-Mail

I am a fan of the Getting Things Done methodology by David Allen. GTD for short, is an action management method.

This kind of methodology can be applied to daily tasks like E-mail. I thought I might share how I use the GTD Methodology to manage my E-mails and get shit done through out the day.

I know so many people who use their E-mail client Inbox as a task or to-do list. The end results is an e-mail inbox that is over flowing with things that are just not getting done. It’s not organized and causes a lot of stress and procrastination as a result.

So, I thought I might show you how I deal with my high volume of E-mail everyday. Hopefully you well find a system, like mine, or something similar that will help save you time when processing your e-mails.

Now, I can not take full credit for this system. My friend Kanske showed me how he handled his e-mail from a screen shot. After I saw it everything just clicked. It seemed so simple. And it is! But now I spend less time thinking about e-mail and lest time doing e-mail. Which is the goal I was trying to reach.

So lets talk about folder structure. Just three folders. “Inbox”, “Action”, and “Archive”. Thats it. Simple and sweet.

So lets start with the Inbox.

If you can delete it then delete it. Junk mail, a forward from a friend you don’t care about. Just dump it. Why keep it? why let it clutter you life? Just delete it so you never have to think about it or worry about it again. You would be shocked how much progress one can make in their own e-mail just by deleting stuff they never will look at again.

If you get an e-mail that you can delete or archive by doing two minutes worth of work or less then do it right then and there. After the work is complete then delete or archive the e-mail. Get it out of your sight because you are done.

If you get an e-mail that requires more then two minutes of your attention then move that E-mail over to your “Actions” folder.

You continue this practice until your inbox is empty. After your Inbox is empty you can then proceed to your “Actions” folder and process the e-mails that where placed their because they required more then two minutes of your time. You do this till your actions folder is empty.

The Archive folder is to store any e-mails you want to keep for whatever resin. It’s just a general holding bin for anything you want to keep. Some people actually create a bunch of nested folders to hold and organized their archived e-mails in. This to me is a little crazy in this day an age. All e-mail clients now have built in search functions so you can quickly do a search to find whatever it is your looking for that has been archive. By just using the search function to find what you want will save so much time because your not clicking through folders and scrolling around. You want to archive an e-mail then just put it in the archive folder. You want to find it again later? Just do a search for what your looking for. So much time saved by doing it this way.

Thats how I handle my e-mail. I hope you found this useful.

Author: Youseph

Cohost of the TransMissions Podcast. Writer, Blogger, Musician.

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