Your E-Mail Inbox is sacred

by techenet on July 5, 2009

sacredemail     Following the mantra of GTD and other sources, your e-mail inbox should be a sacred realm where only the “new” is allowed to reside. This concept became clear to me once I finally managed to zero out my Inbox. For years old emails had festered in my Inbox, reminding me not of things to do, but of things not done. Distracting my thoughts upon every visit. Soon I developed methods for sorting, hiding, and managing my Inbox. But as I’ve learned, these strategies were merely covering up my misuse of this sacred catch all.

     Like your desk Inbox, your email Inbox should be there source of items to be processed for next actions and projects, not the source of to do’s and projects themselves.  You should never refer to your Inbox for what to do next, but rather process it and assign emails and incoming materials to the Next Actions that will then be done.

     Your To Do list should be your To Do list.  Once you’ve processed and planned, refer to the one list and the one list only as you complete your daily activities.

     As I’ve embraced this way of thinking, I’ve found not only that my tasks are actually “getting done” but also a sense of serenity.  Knowing that my system has a flow and a meaning, I no longer have to constantly check my email for what to do and for what’s new.

     In fact, I’ve disabled all email alerts and just check my email at set periods throughout the day – which would have been unthinkable just a short time before.

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