David Weir, athlete. Plus Sharmadean Reid on how to win the battle of the inbox
Q: H How can
I co conquer my emails?
A: “Inbox “zero” is a my mythical status that is merely m another way for technology to reduce us to anxiety-riddled slaves to The Machine. It’s almost impossible to achieve, but it’s true that controlling your inbox (and not letting it control you) is the secret to productivity.
If you’re freelance, you probably have several email addresses. Consolidate them into one inbox. I highly recommend an email address for shopping only.
A different email address for work will save you weeks of deleting irrelevant messages. If you’ve had an email address since you were 12, as I have, it’s probably 90% spam hell. Don’t attempt the sisyphean task of unsubscribing from it all at once – just do a few at a time.
One of the most effective things I’ve done is to create mailbox folders and use the VIP tool on my iPhone. I make certain individuals VIPs so their messages always sit at the top of my box. Any email from my accountants, for example, goes into a special folder that I prioritise.
Another game-changer was to make three folders entitled Today, Week and Month, with the rules based on the date the email was sent. Every day I try to complete the Today box. If I miss it, every Sunday night I work through the Week box, and so on. This stops anxious thoughts such as: “Did I reply to that email, or did I just formulate the reply in my head?”
If I am able to respond to an email immediately, I do. If I can’t because I need more information, or want to write on my laptop, I mark it as unread, so it isn’t forgotten. Many people have a habit of not replying to things they want to say no to, in the hope that the penny drops. Reply immediately. It means people will stop bothering you, and it’s also just good manners.