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How to Love Your Email Again: Inbox-Zero via GTD

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This is a presentation to accompany a blog post I wrote on how to think and use email more effectively as a professional.


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How to Love Your Email Again: Inbox-Zero via GTD

  1. 1. “ A c h i e v i n g I n b o x - Z e r o u s i n g G T D ” Mukom Akong T. @perfexcellent How to Love  Email  Again
  2. 2. Spotting Email dysfunction Root causes of Emailitis Better Em ail practices Inbox-ZerothroughGTD Agenda! Tipsfromthefrontlines
  3. 3. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | You know these “-itises” 3 Arthritis Hepatitis Gastritis
  4. 4. But … what about this?
  5. 5. e.mail.it.is |ee-mayl-eye-tis| (noun) 1. a productivity-draining inflammation of electronic mail. 2. Overblowing the importance of email as a productivity tool.
  6. 6. 121Average number of emails received per person per day in 2014 (source: Radicati Group)
  7. 7. $1 billion/yr Cost of lost productivity due to email overload for firms with 50,000+ employees
  8. 8. @perfexcellent Symptoms2 How to recognise the of Emailitis
  9. 9. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Symptom #1: Sustained high un-read mail count 9 957
  10. 10. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Symptom #2: The cocktail ‘Inbox’ 10 •Read and unread emails •Starred and un-starred emails •Labelled and un-labelled emails … all deserve equal amounts of attention??!!
  11. 11. Symptom #3: Email ‘organised’ in over 20 folders Dividing an ‘incomplete pile of unclear stuff’ into several folders doesn’t help clarify them! - STOP
  12. 12. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Symptom #4: Your response to a computer crash 12 $#@& God No!! my email!!!
  13. 13. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Symptom #5: Email is the subject of conflict! 13
  14. 14. @perfexcellent Root Causes3 Exposing the of Emailitis
  15. 15. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Emailitis results from email misuse 15 Project Management Email is a LOUSY tool for these! Brainstorming Doc. Collaboration
  16. 16. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Use these tools instead of email 16 Project Management Brainstorming Doc. Collaboration Trello Jira Asana Mediawiki Post-It Freemind Mediawiki Google Drive
  17. 17. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | The’re often better ways than email! 17 TASK SOME MORE EFFECTIVE TOOLS Project Management Collaborative Project Management System e.g. • Jira • Trello • Asana Brainstorming • Meet for 1 hour & use Post-It notes • Mindmap apps e.g Freemind, Wisemapping • Wiki e.g. confluence, mediawiki Document collaboration • Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides) • Use “Track Changes” feature of Office apps • Etherpad
  18. 18. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | The’re often better ways than email! 18
  19. 19. @perfexcellent Practices3 Better for dealing with email
  20. 20. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Only 5 things matter about email 20 Unread Read (Action needed from someone) Read (Action needed) Sent by you (Response Expected) Read (Reference Info)
  21. 21. Inbox Action Waiting Reference Everything Else You NEED only 5 + 1 ‘folders’
  22. 22. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Meet your new ‘Inbox’ •ESSENTIAL & UNREAD mails •Auto-filter out non-essentials: ①Mailing lists ②Social media notifications ③Newsletters ④Promotions etc •Empty every day (Inbox Zero) 22 Inbox
  23. 23. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | ‘Action’ folder •Mails that need 2+ minutes •What to do with it? ①Reply (long responses) ②Process into tasks (ToDo list) •Remove treated mails 23 Action
  24. 24. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | ‘Waiting’ folder •Mails you sent (or forwarded) •Usually means ‘delegated’ •You expect a response/update •Send reminder(s) 24 Waiting
  25. 25. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | ‘Reference’ folder •Mails you’ve already read •Contain important information to be referenced in the future •What to do with it? ①Print and file (old school :-() ②Forward to Evernote 25 Reference
  26. 26. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | ‘Everything Else’ folder Non-essential unread mail • Mailing lists • Social media updates • Promotions etc What to do with it? •Scan twice/thrice a week •Move interesting to Action/Reference as needed 26 Waiting
  27. 27. @perfexcellent Inbox-Zero4 Getting to GTD-style
  28. 28. Recall: GTD Workflow (c) David Allen
  29. 29. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Inbox-Zero workflow 29 Auto SORT Process Organize DO Filters Rules What ACTION does this mail require? Tracking Referencing Long replies Tasks
  30. 30. ActionReference Action? By Me? <= 2 mins ? Respond NOW Inbox Archives Mailing Lists New mail Referential ? Waiting YESNO NO YES YES NO NO YES Auto-Filters Processing Email Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent
  31. 31. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Processing Email: The 2 Minute Rule 31 2minutes Move to “Action” folder Respond now Remove from Inbox
  32. 32. Mukom Akong T. | @Perfexcellent | Inbox Zero implementation in Gmail 32
  33. 33. @perfexcellent Tips & Tricks5 Some from the field
  34. 34. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Some of my email tactics ① Disable notifications! ② NEVER start your day with email ③ Break #2 if email is your big rock for that day ④ Do email 2 or 3 times per day ⑤ Close email client at other times ⑥ Keep work and personal email separate ⑦ Delete mail that’s not reference or actionable 34
  35. 35. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Settings for Gmail 35 • Use labels to categorise • Use filters to skip inbox • “Unread” is my Inbox (only non-junk)
  36. 36. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Settings for Apple Mail 36 • Rename flags to desired statuses • Use Use filters to skip inbox • “GTD-Inbox” is my Inbox (only non-junk) • Use Smart Mailboxes to hold tagged messages • Drag Smart Mailboxes to create toolbar • Hide Mailboxes sidebar for clean look
  37. 37. Mukom Akong T. | @perfexcellent | Settings for Thunderbird ① Create tags |-Action-| , |-Waiting-| etc ② Use QuickFolders add-on to create tabs of the for each of the above tabs ③ Used “Saved Search” to configure my buckets “Inbox”, “Action” , “Reference”, “Monitor” ④ Switch to a view that Hides Folder 37
  38. 38. Work; email is NOT. Tool; it is. Wisely; use it thou shall! Else to the Dark side; take you; email will.
  39. 39. A N W E R S Q U E S T I O N S mukom.tamon@gmail.com @perfexcellent