Planning around your email


I spend too much time “doing email.” I’m on it all the time – especially during the work day but also on weekends, evenings, etc.

But when I step back, a very small percentage of the email I receive is urgent. A very small percentage. Much of what I get (and likely what you get as well) is a combination of junk mail, “FYI” emails that can be read later, and requests that otherwise wouldn’t bubble up as something you need to do right away.

Let’s say you end each day by making a list of your top five priorities for the next day. You commit yourself to getting the first 1-2 things done. Sure, fire drills are a part of business, but you can’t let those fire drills get in the way of what you need to do in your job, and for your business, long-term. You can’t let the reactive work get in the way of your more-important proactive work, which ideally is based on a long-term plan focused on growing your business.

If you effectively prioritized your workday last night, then there’s very little in today’s email that will affect those priorities. With that kind of daily focus, you can spend more time getting your core work done, and less time letting your email inbox manage you.

Set aside 2-3 times each day to focus on email – clearing out the junk, reading the FYI’s, and identifying work that might become a “top five” priority for the next day. This level of “compartmentalized” email time will be a big change for many (including myself), but I guarantee it will make you feel far more productive and successful in the long run.