Welcome to the first installment of our e-mail tips! Today, right now, you will learn the first of fourteen rules to e-mail efficiency. Let’s dive in -
In today’s world, for whatever reason, probably the hardest thing to do is to “do what you do while you’re doing it”. Again that’s, “do what you do while you are doing it.” If you can do ONLY what you are working on or doing, with nothing else involved, you will become a power house.
Conversely, when one does many things at once, he might feel like he is “multi-tasking” and getting more done, while in fact he would be much better off handling or doing just one thing FULLY at a time.
Let’s see why.
In life, every person has a certain total attention capacity. That attention capacity can break down further to what is called attention units. When your attention units are taken up, your attention capacity becomes limited and your power as an individual is demonstrably reduced.
Here is an example: A computer works much like the human mind. A computer has a certain Processing Capacity. When you open up one program, some of that Processing Capacity is in use. When you open up several programs at one time, there is a noticeable decrease in speed and power. Eventually, after opening up many things at once, downloading a video and sending out messages, for example, the computer will crash. It’s the same with life.
We’ve all had those moments where we just feel like we can’t take on any more or else – Crash!
The following “Do’s and Don’ts” we are about to reveal will ensure you operate with all your attention units and experience zero crashes. You will be amazed at the power and speed you will get by following these very simple rules:
- Read part (or all) of the e-mail and decide to reply or handle later…
- File it in a different folder with the idea of working on it later…
- Start to reply and stop in the middle…
The above will prove to be fatal to your ability to handle future tasks and actions, as every time you do that, an attention unit UNKNOWINGLY is occupied, and you become weaker and slower!
One of the following:
Note: The universal routine you must follow is – The moment you click on and open the e-mail, read it, work on it and finish it right away, right then and there. You touch it, you play it.
- If you expect an action or answer in return to your e-mail – Convert the e-mail to a task with a defined target date (Outlook and other similar programs have task management features – yes, they are limited, but they are better than nothing). Setting up a task that will remind you when you need to take the next action eliminates the need of occupying any attention units. This is the most important action, and other than ensuring you do not waste attention units, it also ensures nothing gets forgotten.
- If you don’t expect an answer in return to your e-mail – Simply reply to the e-mail. However, concentrate on replying in a final way which will ensure the communication does not drag out or end up needing further communications.
- If no further action is needed – file the e-mail in the appropriate organized and easy to find folder. Yes, you need to keep nearly all e-mails (other than junk) as they are the “memory” of the organization.
- If no further action is needed, and you do not need to retain the email – delete the e-mail and release the attention unit.
The purpose here is to create time by ensuring one does not do the same work twice, while also ensuring that no communication, task or action is ever dropped or forgotten, and you keep your attention units free all the while.
Try it out over the next couple of days. It’s simple, but it’s magic!
See you next week with the next tip – FIFO – FIRST IN, FIRST OUT…
Founder – TimeMaker
This tip was brought to you by TimeMaker – the #1 efficiency software in the world – specializing in saving you time and money.