Monday, November 04, 2013

How the first interface matters for the management of emails

Thus far I have more or less succeeded in checking my email only a couple of times a day and trying to focus on the task or work at hand.  And in a high speed environment like IKEA, I have not really succeeded in being successful - there are times where I am behind in some pieces of work.

Yes, theoretically, let's take up to 3 working days to send and reply emails.   However in this pressure cooker environment, it doesn't really work that well.  And to be honest, perhaps my email trick last time still covered my ass as an inefficient guy - yeah I know that I should spend my time at work instead of clearing email, therefore, I clear my email after work while travelling on the train or using smart phone.  Therefore, actually I am still using time (OT) to cover up my inefficiency. 

There is really something to learn in all sort of situations - in these recent months where I have lost appetite to clear personal or work emails and being in a fast pace environment allowed me to eureka this morning how broken my system is and what I can do to fix it. 

I have tried Leo Babauta's method of email processing time and having an empty inbox and parking work emails into a "Pending Action" folder.   However, after some time, I do forget about those " Pending Action" because they are not the first email interface that I see. 

Of course, I can transfer everything to a To Do List but that will take heck a Lot of time.  And suddenly, I realised the ridiculousness of applying the 3 days reply as well.   Why should I reply sponsorship requests in less than 3 days or a day once it appears in my inbox  - I have more important work to do. 

No matter what, the first interface that you see is the inbox - therefore if a non urgent email sits in your inbox - it is taking your attention away from other more important emails. 

Moving Forward:

  1. Create more filters to remove certain types of emails from the first interface. 
  2. In email processing time: 
    1. Reply and act now if I can do that with a minute
    2. If not, if it is a not important email - move it to "Slow" folder and act on it when free  - examples: sponsorship requests which I need to research into the organisation, general story emails on customers
      1. Leave these to be acted on at those 3-4 pm where the energy is really low.
  3. Leave the important to be acted on email in my inbox!

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