Take Control and “De-Whelm”

The volume of “stuff” crossing our desks seems to get worse every time another time-saving device is introduced into our lives. How do you deal with the barrage of email, texts, IMs, and tweets in a given day?

(Notice I didn’t even mention phone calls or voice mails. These have become practically irrelevant as the other methods have accelerated!)

No matter what is going on in your world, you need to take control, or it will certainly control and overwhelm you before you even blink.

I recommend doing one or two important activities or projects first thing in the morning before you even look at your email. Aside from receiving a sense of accomplishment, you’ll feel you’ve taken control of your day.

Then tackle the email. Set a 15-minute time limit, and go through your new mail as quickly as possible, deleting whatever you can. Then, go back and identify the ones that you need to respond to right away. When appropriate, forward some to co-workers with a quick note, “Please handle”.

If you postpone a response to a later time (when you need more time to prepare a thoughtful response), move the email to a “follow up” folder (and don’t forget about it!). Finally, don’t get distracted by ads or promotions luring you away from the task at hand. One click on to the Internet and you’ve lost your productivity.

You can repeat this 3-4 times a day. Many clients fear if they don’t reply right away, people will feel they are unresponsive. Unless your business revolves around simultaneous email communication where email replaces verbal communication, this simply isn’t true.

In fact, look at it this way: people may actually perceive you aren’t very busy (read: important) if you respond to emails immediately. You don’t want that, do you?

Change your mindset, organize your time, and use a process like the one just described. You’ll be more productive, and certainly will feel more in control.

Have a great day!


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