I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. There now I’ve admitted it to myself (and you).
My next step is to take my own advice and start with something small that I can get accomplished, that will make the rest of my day easier, make me feel good and want to go on to another activity that will move me forward toward my goals.
Here is what I’ve picked: my email inbox!
I know it sounds crazy but part of my current overwhelm is that I may be missing connection opportunities because of all the clutter. As I’m admitting things… it isn’t a “may” – I know I’ve missed the opportunity to be timely in a response or three lately!
Here is how I do my clean out:
Delete – ok this might be my favorite part, I quickly go down my inbox with intent to delete! Yup specifically to delete anything I can (your prospects are probably doing & enjoying this too).
My decision is made based on: do I know the sender – is the subject line telling – what does my preview pane show.
File – next step is to put messages into folders (when appropriate); I might have ‘done’ or ‘responded’ but am keeping a record of someone’s original request, it may be someone’s response to me that I need to keep but there is no action required, etc.
Another folder I have says ** Stuff to Read ** sounds great doesn’t it? Well I just looked and currently there are 77 items dating back as far as March 2011 in that folder. I don’t think that is unusual, once it is in the folder it is like the leftovers that were pushed to the back of the refrigerator that you keep until they go bad. Sometimes you notice them before that and actually enjoy them.
Interlude…. I went and took my own advice; now my inbox is down to 40 ‘things’ that are currently arranged by who they are from. I’m going to take a moment and resort by subject to see if there are duplications based on the joy of back & forth messaging.
Prioritize – there are two schools of thought I have about prioritization and ultimately mix the two together.
1st = if it will take 5 minutes, just do it now (the issue here is that 5 min x 40 items = 200 min or OVER 3 hours! And we all know some things will seem like 5 min but take longer – not to mention that things are still popping into my inbox)
2nd = what really needs to be done TODAY? And when I say ‘really’ it is with a filter of: this will affect a prospect, customer, or partner relationships if I put it off. I add those things to a paper ‘to do list’ because I like to check those off as well and don’t want to forget about them!
I’m also going to schedule time in my calendar for things that will help me move forward toward my goals BUT I don’t have to do today.
Safety tip: right now I’m tempted to go back and see if I can delete more – but that would probably lead to deleting something that will help me reach the goals I’ve set for myself… otherwise I would have deleted it in round one!
Do – Now that I’ve got my priorities straight, I’m going to do the things that will only take 5 minutes so I can cross them right off my list!
Then I’ll move on to the longer tasks and activities on the priority list, figuring out a way to communicate now that I’m working on things and haven’t forgotten about them (it is amazing how that alone builds relationships with prospects, customers, and partners).
Look and I have a blog post done and crossed off my list *ahhhhhhh*