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Quick tips on processing your email inbox
Merlin Mann | Feb 18 2005
The basic idea is to firewall processing as a discrete phase you go through no more than every hour or two at the most. For God’s sake, don’t live in your Inbox if there’s any way you can avoid it.
Processing determines as quickly as possible what, if anything, to do with each piece (in ascending order of urgency and importance):
Then as often as time allows, I return to the
The critical point, as ever, is to focus on action and not on the administration and housekeeping. If the action is just a response, respond. If it requires more than a return email, either do it or get it in your “next actions” and keep moving.
As I said in the Google Group post, “you have to remember you’re in the business of making sandwiches—not deciding the prettiest way to stack the customers’ orders.”
Zen slap: An email auto-check set for every minute means 60 potential distractions every hour, or almost 500 per day. Look back at a week of your emails and ask yourself: how many distractions was that really worth? How much crucial, instantly actionable email did I receive to make it worth shifting my attention over 2000 times?
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