Okay you don’t have time today to be provoked or provoking. No worries straight down to business so. Have a look at your inbox, look at the 10 most recent emails, for today or this week depending on your dependency. Now quickly answer this question: why are they still there? If you’re honest most will fall into 1 of these 3 categories;
- Reply needed; this mail needs a reply from you, only you, you need to think or research your answer, try your best to close the reply so you don’t end up in an email conversation. If clarity is required follow up with a visit or phone-call; send it, close it and delete it.
- I may need to read this later; a sales pitch, corporate update, interesting HBR management tip etc. You’ll come back to it again and again: read it, don’t read it but delete it.
- Notification; so somebody has looked up your LinkedIn profile, favorited your tweet or liked your comment. If you have a goal of developing your online presence fine, put aside some time each day /week (dependency issues again) to engage if not delete & unsubscribe to these notifications.
What you will quickly find is how few emails need a reply from you and only you, these are the priority ones and require your attention and closing thoughts. Any emails that get deleted straight away should be unsubscribed, ones you may need later (really, do they?) should be put in a folder. Be ruthless with email and gracious with your replies!