Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Handling email the GTD way

Today I am endeavoring to follow directions. Directions about how to handle emails. Oh thank you God! I get a heavy load of emails daily (in spite of the fact that I have great SPAM protection) from both my personal and my professional contacts. Add to this the fact that I have 3 email accounts to manage and...well...I get overloaded. Then my eyes cross and I don't end up processing the emails. I just open, shut, open, shut my internet browser. By that time the best action I can think of taking is a long nap. zzzzz.....

But no more! Mr. Allen has a plan and it goes a little something like this:
1. Create 3 Folders within your email account
a) "@ Actions" (for emails that require actions that take longer than 2 mins. to process)
b) "@ Contacts" (for emails which contact important contact information to be entered at a later time)
c) "@ Waiting" (for emails which are waiting on a response from another person)

If you are wondering what the heck that "@" symbol is doing in front of each of those folders, you are not crazy. Mr. Allen suggests that you use that symbol (or similar) to bring the folders to the top of your folders list (if your folder's list is organized alphabetically, a symbol such as "@" will come before the letter "a")

2. Empty your Inbox by processing each email (EACH ONE, IN ORDER, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM).
Emails that can be handled in less than 2 minutes, handle. Those that require more time, go into one of the 3 folders listed above. These 3 folders are to be reviewed (and/or their contents processed).

Et Voila! A new approach.

For me, it's just kind of odd looking at a completely empty Inbox. I don't think I have seen one of those in a LONG, LONG time ;)

I'll keep you updated on this email thing. Until then...

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