I am spending considerable time working through time management issues on my job with the advent of some new California State regulations. The state has mandated a new indentifier program for all students as part of the No-Child Left Behind act and the data reporting is very time consuming. This is on top of an already hectic tech schedule. My frustration level with E-mail overload hit a new high this week. I was out for over a week with my Dad’s memorial and you can imagine what I found when I returned. Where does it all come from?
I found an interesting article on Genuine Curiosity today by Dwayne Melancon about keeping your inbox clean and using the GTD add-in for Outlook from the David Allen Company. I have used the GTD add-in for over a year now and I find it to be very useful. They fixed the major shutdown glitch over the summer and now it works very well. When I first loaded the plug-in I was able to reduce my inbox from over 1100 e-mails to just a handful. Dwayne’s post today gives some additional tips for KEEPING the inbox clean….
When I first got my inbox to empty, it became like a game of “whack-a-mole” and I became obsessed with keeping it clear at all times. That kept me from doing planned work, since I was so busy cleaning my inbox all the time. If you’re on that treadmill, here are a couple of tips to break the addiction:
* Schedule some uninterrupted time to get your email done each day and try to stick to it.
o Be aware of how many messages you typically handle in an hour, and keep an eye on how many you get each day so you don’t under-schedule this block of time. One morning, and one late afternoon block might work best – it’s all up to you.
* Turn off your email alerts and “dings” so you don’t get lured by email’s siren song when you should be doing something else. Emergency scanning is OK, but…
* Remember the two minute rule – and try to stick to it tightly for at least 3 weeks to see if you can develop a habit.
o Gadget Alert: For me, using the GTD add-in for Outlook has been a big factor in being able to stick to the two-minute rule – it makes it easy for me to quickly file, delegate, and defer items that would take more than two minutes to get done.
Dwayne’s post came at a good time for me. I set aside some E-Mail only time this week to get things under control.
To see how the Outlook add-in works check out the video link here.