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Clearing your Inbox...

Posted 6 March 2013

Firstly, let me get this clear … I am not a psychologist, and have had no medical training.  What you are about to read is an observation, not the result of clinical investigation….

Stress in the workplace has many possible sources – it may arise from interpersonal relationships, insufficient training, unrealistic goal setting, or financial pressure, for example.

But when the business owners and managers I work with as a coach are showing outward signs of stress and anxiety, nine times out of  ten the cause is the same – they are feeling overwhelmed by the number of things which are vying for their time and attention.

And where is this most apparent to observe ?  You may be surprised to learn that the answer is in their E-Mail.  What I find is that an inbox with tens, hundreds or even thousands of uncleared, unchecked emails is so often the outward sign of an overwhelmed mind.  What it tells me is that things are going unfinished, that strands of thought are not being captured or completed, that prospects are not being followed up, that payments are outstanding, that decisions are being sat upon …. in short, all the things that your average business owner finds flying around their head at 4am which prevents them getting back to sleep ?

So go on, admit it – how many of you started the day with a clear inbox ?   And for those who didn’t,  how can you go about doing this ?

As with every aspect of time management or time mastery, it is a trade-off between the pain of getting into a new discipline and the long-term reward of less stress, more sleep and more success.  Which is another way of saying, it is simple, but is sure isn’t very easy.

All you need to do is to operate a triple D approach to your e-mail inbox.  That’s D for Deal with (and right away) – D for Delegate (with instruction and responsibilty) – and D for Dump (politely if you wish, but get rid of it if it isn’t important to you).  Do this three or four times a day, which keeps you on top of your game, on top of your correspondance and your inbox and mind immeasurably clearer.  Do it for the next 3 weeks, and then see what difference that has made to you and your business.