Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Processing an email walk-through, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- Now we're ready to do a brief walk-through. I'm going to show you how to process a few example emails. The first email is a newsletter that I want to receive. I'm going to ask myself: what is the next step? The next step is to create the rule. When will it be done? Right now. Because it's five minutes or less. And where is its home? Let's answer that by creating a filter. I'll click on More and select Filter messages like this.
I'll select whenever it's an email from this address create the filter Skip the inbox, and then I'll create a label called "Newsletters". I'll select Also apply filter to matching messages. Click Create filter, and there - I've created the filter. It's processed. Let's do another email. Here's an email from Judy asking if I can attend an appointment next week. So I ask myself the question: what is the next step? The next step is I check my calendar and see if I'm available.
When will it be done? Well, I can check my calendar in five minutes or less, so I open up my calendar and take a look. The time she suggested will not work for me, I have a conflict. So I need to start the processing system over again. What's the next step? Send a reply to them proposing a new time. When will it be done? Well, it can be done now because it can be done in five minutes or less. And where is its home? When I'm done with it I'll put it in the archive.
So, I send a reply saying, "Here is the time that I'll be available." And then I hit Send, and now I'm done with that email, so I click Archive. By the way, there's also a Send and archive button in Gmail, which is a handy option to reduce clicks. Before I do that, let's imagine it's really important that I have this meeting with Judy. Let's say that I have to follow up and make sure that the meeting takes place.
In that case there is a next step after this, right? So, what I'm going to do is take this email and create a task reminder for myself by copying and pasting the details from the email into the task reminder calendar I created. Remember this is not my actual calendar, this is just a place to put reminders for things I need to do in the future or follow up on. So, I copy all the information from the email and then I click on the calendar, select the task remider calendar and go into Edit event.
In the detail section, I can post the email in case I need a reminder as to what this is about. Then I type in a subject line "Waiting for Judy's reply on the meeting" and save the reminder. Finally, I have to answer "Where is its home?" And since I'm done with the email I click Archive, and I'm done. Now I don't have to worry about it anymore; the computer will do all the reminding for me. Let's do one more quick example dealing with scheduling some work for myself.
Here is an email with someone telling me that I need to visit this site to learn more information and see if this is a service we want to use. So, I ask myself: what's the next step? It's to visit the site. When will it be done? Let's say this is something that I really want to give some good thought to. I may spend 30 minutes looking at the site and really analyzing it carefully. So, in this case the "when will it be done?" must be calendared.
Why? Because since it will take over 15 minutes I must budget time for this step. So, I copy the email, then I open up the calendar window, and create a new appointment, and paste the email info into the details. So, I'm going to schedule this time for 30 minutes making sure that I have buffer space on either side, because I don't want to schedule myself too tightly. If I wanted to, I could colour-categorize this to identify the kind of work I'm doing, but that's optional.
Finally, where is its home? All processed email, except for obvious deletions, go into the archive. I click Archive, and I'm done. Processing email is very similar to processing physical items. The medium and the tool you're using is different, yet the principle stays exactly the same. Now that I've given you a walk through the three different emails, it's time for you to practice and start to condition yourself to use the "what, when, where" processing system.
Now is the time for you to begin building mental muscle memory. As soon as this video ends, I recommend you spend at least one hour practicing the training I just gave you. It's your turn to put these principles into practice. Give it a good hour, and you'll begin to cultivate lasting habits.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains