Friday, November 15, 2013

Getting Things Done

My ADD is a thing of beauty. Really, a textbook case that allows me to juggle so many things. But there are times when I want to stick a hot poker right in ADD's eyeball. This is never so apparent as when I open my email inbox.

Over a hundred new messages come in every day. So many that I often forget who sent me what and sometimes...when I am really frustrated...I hunker down and spend an hour taming the email tally to under 100.

Then I spied this article on David Allen's Get It Done website, called Getting Your Inbox to Zero. Zero? I don't think it has ever been there. I mean, you start with the welcome message. I high-five myself if I can get it in double digits.

Step one is to go through the email and ask - is it actionable. If no, then you delete or file it. So I started with 685 emails at 5:45pm. By 6:15 I was at 535. But I had bought a Groupon...yeah. Squirrel!

I redoubled my efforts. 6:45 brought 440. So in an hour I had figured out over 200 emails. Not bad, since 10 came in. But still, that's not 0. By 7:15 I'm down to 246. That is not 0. 192 by 7:45. Quite the improvement, but it's been TWO HOURS. Dude.

And then I realized... I have emails from 2006. Now some are sentimental. The email from my aunt the day before she passed. OK. My husband's ski retreat from Nike...two jobs ago? Yeah, that's gotta go. By 8:15 I had just 43. And I stopped. It was down to one page. I had rid myself of over 600. And...two and a half hours. Egad.

So...way to go Get Things Done. Not quite a win. But a great improvement.   

2 comments:

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Impressive, Jenna! I've heard of this technique and have used it at work. It is MUCH harder with personal emails because there are things I don't have time to look at, but want to. Then there are the sentimental emails, like the one you mentioned.

My Inbox tends to be around 300-400. That is instead of in the thousands. Unfortunately, that is 300-400 in each of FOUR email accounts. Ugh! Usually around the last week of December I take the ax to it. I delete anything that is older than three months.

The one thing I am trying to do to keep it in shape is to copy sentimental emails into a "keep" folder so they don't get axed at the end of the year.

Maybe I'll just hire you, Jenna, to come to my inbox at the end of the year. :)

Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

I got to down to 20 this morning, but it's 25 at sign-off time. I hope this motivation lasts!