Email Overload?

17 Jul

Yesterday’s training with Marsha Egan was excellent! If you missed it, catch it now at Marnie’s Friends. This comment came in after the show:

“Email Detox E-training was excellent! The steps given were great considering that one is already starting from zero messages. What suggestions can you give…for one within an existing inbox full of messages (hundreds)?”

I forwarded this note to Marsha Egan who responded with the following excerpt from her book, Inbox Detox. —————————————————————————————

Organize Your Email

Organize Your Email

The Cleansing Except from Inbox Detox by Marsha EganWe’re not done. Knowing the methods to keeping your inbox under control is a great start. These 12 Steps pave the way for complete efficiency and productivity with this new technological tool. It paves the way to your future success. But first, we have one big “cleansing to do…”

If you are like many of my clients, you didn’t buy Inbox Detox because your inbox was empty… Most likely, you have many items in that inbox.

So before you can get into a daily regimen that honors the 12 steps, you need to “cleanse” that inbox, once and for all.

The next action then, is to plan to get your current inbox down to zero. This Inbox Detox program won’t work well without you taking this very important step.

Don’t groan. Having many items in your inbox is actually an advantage — it will create a focused effort on emptying that inbox that will help you actually engrain the habits that will maintain inbox control in the future!

And here is the method that will work.

Set a date. The best way to get this done is to set a target date.

Here is some help in setting up your target date. Using the two-minute rule as your guide, take the number of e-mails you currently have in your inbox and multiply them by two minutes. This is the maximum amount of time you’ll need to budget. We believe you’re safe cutting that time in half, then half again, because many of the e-mail messages will take only seconds to handle.

Divide that number by 60 minutes, and you will have an estimate of how many hours it will take you to empty that inbox. We suggest that you break this effort into no more than one hour segments.

So, using the formula above, if you have 250 e-mails, the most time it should take you to empty your inbox will be 500 minutes, or eight hours. The reality is many of those items won’t take you two minutes, but eight hours would be the maximum amount of time. Our better guess would be that it might take you two to four hours… So you might want to plan an hour a day for the next three or four days as your target.

Realizing that this “cleansing” is an investment in your professional and psychological future, give yourself some space, and don’t try to do it all at once or it will drive you crazy.

Some people have devoted an hour a day, every other day until they achieved their zero goal. Others devoted a half hour every morning. Still others set aside time daily on consecutive days. Do what works best for you, but don’t stop until you get to zero.

Caution! Practice the right habits. As you do your Inbox Detox sweep, it is important that you use the e-mail two-minute rule, file things in folders, and set diaries as you would after you have reached the zero items in your inbox. Apply the steps you learned in the 12 Step Program.

As my niece, Alison, once corrected me when I admired her piano practice, saying “Practice makes perfect” she stated, “No, Auntie Moo, Perfect practice makes perfect.” Avoid being romanced into handling any item that will take you more than two minutes. Avoid unnecessary scrolling. Avoid working on low priority stuff.As you do so, you will engrain toxic habits rather than change them.

Some people have had success creating a temporary review folder, and moving everything from the inbox to that folder. They achieved an empty inbox immediately. This method can work, only if you commit to going into that temporary review folder, and sorting the e-mail messages contained therein by your target date.

There is a silver lining in this… Emptying that e-mail inbox is actually a great exercise in affirming the new habits you will develop for handling your e-mail. Because it is a concentrated effort, you will learn what you repeat, thereby shortening the amount of time to engrain new habits.

Set a target date, right now, by which your inbox will be totally empty. Make the target date realistic, and commit to it.

So, when will your inbox be completely empty?_________________________

I hope this helps!  I love you and care about your life, work, time and relationships.  My goal is to support you as you make healthy lifestyle choices. I appreciate experts like Marsha Egan who can come alongside and help us!  Learn more about Marsha at her website


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