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The system of "what, when, where" processing applies to email as easily as it does your physical inbox. To quickly review "what, when, where" processing, take one item at a time from one of your approved gathering points and answer the questions. What is the next step? When will it be done? And where is its home? Your goal in processing your email is the same as your goal in processing your physical inbox. Bring it to zero, meaning completely empty, at least once per week.
Some people keep emails in their inbox to serve as reminders of things that they need to do, items that are unresolved. Some keep email in their inbox because they're worried about losing them. Other people depend on the highlights or the bold emails to let them know of emails that they haven't answered yet. You should keep your email inbox empty, so that you can stay focused while working and processing. When you keep unprocessed email in the same folder as your processed email, you lose a great deal of productivity.
You make it unnecessarily difficult to find things, and increase your switch- tasking while working. Remember, switchtasking--what many people called multitasking--is the biggest culprit behind the inefficiency that you're feeling in your day. I'll show you how to file processed email away quickly and easily, so you can bring your inbox to zero each week. For the section on email, I will use Outlook to demonstrate the "what, when, where" processing system. But keep in mind, all of the features that I use in this video can be found in other common email programs, such as Thunderbird, Mac Mail, Gmail, and so on.
It really doesn't matter what email program you choose to use because the "what, when, where" processing is very flexible. In this chapter, I'll show you how to apply this system to processing email.
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