RAB Research Archive

Inbox Detox



The notification showing how many unread emails can drive a person crazy. After an afternoon filled with meetings, you can turn on your computer, and there it is, that notification telling you how much you still need to do. That’s just one of the many places demanding your attention. It’s amazing the mental toll just that simple badge on your inbox icon can create. I’ve even worked with people who have thousands of unread emails. I notice this when doing screen-sharing meetings.

In Christina Randle’s book Getting It Together, she lays out her proprietary system for moving from survival mode to thriving. She calls it The Effective Edge. Our lives are filled with clutter, interruptions, and important information to which we need to pay attention. Technology, thought to help, has actually increased the volume of information that we are bombarded with. According to Randle, getting The Effective Edge™ involves:

E – Emptying – Your inbox, your voice mail, the top of your desk are all collection points that can gather information and clutter. Randle suggests that we empty daily.

D – Deciding – In order to empty, you need the ability to make quick decisions. Randle says the process involves the 4 Ds:

1. Delete

2. Do

3. Delegate

4. Defer

G – Grouping – Grouping tasks that are similar allows you to handle them more quickly.

E – Executing – Randle suggests we all want to spend more time accomplishing things. To do this, we need to ensure we have a seamless system of reducing the clutter, making decisions and grouping.

Admittedly, this all sounds easy, and everyone is different. The key is to find a system that works for you. I try to end every day with zero emails in my inbox. Let’s just say that some days are better than others. As you continue down your journey of minimizing distractions and maximizing productivity, you might consider starting first with your email inbox and your voicemail. Imagine how great it would be to end your day with no voicemail to listen to, or no unread emails. All were either deleted, responded to, delegated or filed for future action.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. or follow him on social media: Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB





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