Today I want to talk about 2 very contradicting things: time management, and email.
Time management, as I like to think we all know it, is the subtle art of doing what matters most, all the time.
Email, as I like to think we all know it, is the subtle art of doing what matters least, all in as little time possible.
Folks, this year I find myself managing almost 10 email inboxes.
1 for each of my businesses.
1 for personal that I can’t get rid of… ugh, gmail.
1 for personal that’s actually private (thank you Protonmail).
And now, sigh, if I’m being holistic about what an inbox is…
1 for each social media channel I’m on.
1 for each invitation request of each social media channel I’m on..
1 for – I should add every godforsaken notification…
1 for – on each device…
Bloody nightmare, am I right?
And yet here I am giving you yet another “email” (we’ve come to call this static email a blog post. Ha.)
And wait, there’s more! I’m about to preach to you the power and responsibility of getting to zero on each one of these inboxes.
And not only that, I’m going to promote this activity under the premise that it’s good time management!
Please, call me insane.
What I’m about to share with you is the literal definition of insanity.
This is my time management framework/playbook for getting to zero, and why that’s what actually matters most… in certain times.
This may come across as very contradictory, but time management and email… Two sides of the same coin. We need time to answer our mail. We also need time to stay the hell away from our mail.
With that, let’s go nuts:
#1) Unsubscribe from everything and everyone that doesn’t matter.
The insanity in this first play is in how this must happen daily. Within that, context: Do you unsubscribe from someone’s email AND their Facebook posts? If neither matter most in each channel, then yes to both. Otherwise, expect it to be part of your feed.
You cannot and will not keep up with everything. Be extreme in what you subscribe to. Unsubscribe from all else.
#2) Schedule time on your calendar to answer each inbox in the method step.
This insanity involves a few things. For one, rank your inboxes. Second, answer the oldest first. Third, answer quick, concise, and move, move, move. If an inbox item is so important that you need more than 5 minutes… set it aside somehow, batch it into categories if helpful, then get to it with a calendar block. Schedule that block immediately, and asap.
Most important: Do not ponder. Unsubscribe, else, answer with the love of speed. Else, set aside, and respond at the speed of love.
#3) Do not look at any notifications until it is time.
This insanity revolves around the paradox of urgency. Of all your inboxes, only 1 should answer immediately: Direct text. Calls are disruptive. Everything else can get an answer at your discretion. 24 hours? 48? Elon batches emails weekly on Sundays. You do you.
Remember, you must say YES to the thing that matters most to your time. You will otherwise have to say NO to every little thing that matters least to your time. Which one sounds less exhausting?
Inbox counts are a measure of daily insanity.
Until you unsubscribe, inboxes will repeat over and over expecting different results. You must say no, every day. It sucks, but if you don’t do it, it only becomes more.
You must respond to insanity with (scheduled) insanity – apply method focus to each inbox. Hit the old first (you’ve pushed that the longest and it now has the least relevance – ripe for unsubscribing). Hit it fast, and move. The dopamine of speed is your friend here. Where you need more time to love your responses, make more time to do so.
Finally, close all inboxes from your awareness until it is time. This insane ignorance will change nothing about your ever-growing inboxes. But, at least it will let you focus on what matters most right now.
Your most insane time manager.