[[image:29670213_d245dbffd4_m.thumb.jpg::left:0]]When dealing with your personal productivity in an electronic workspace, email is practically everywhere. For me, almost all communication goes through email. Actually, my Intray on my desk has been empty for a week now. I get very few mail on paper, magazines go straight into a “to read” basket and every other little scrap of paper gets dealt with right away. Because it takes less than two minutes to drop some form over at a co-worker’s desk, read a leaflet on something and decide what to do with it or get those receipts from businesslunches and gas and make sure they get to the Office Manager.
But email, that’s a whole other story. Actually, over at David Allen’s website, Julie Daniel wrote a fine piece on the different types of email that can and will linger in your Inbox. She describes the following sorts of email…
- Email you’ve read and there’s no action associated with it and you don’t need to keep it for reference. So delete it!
- Email you’ve read and there’s no action associated with it right now but perhaps on a later date. So incubate it or file it!
- Email you’ve read and decided there is an action but you are not sure what the action is. So incubate it or defer it!
- Email you’ve read and decided there is an action and you know what the action is but you haven’t come around to doing it. So put it on a Next Action list in the appropriate context!
- Email you’ve read and decided there is an action and you actually did the action. But now you are waiting on some sort of reply from someone or they need to track the outcome of that action. So put it on a “Waiting For” list!
- Email you haven’t read yet. Those are the only emails that should be in your Inbox!
There you have it. Six types of email. And to tell you the truth, if you can give me one example of an email that does not fall into any of the above categories, you need to wirte a book called “Getting MORE things done” because you might have discovered a new type of information, or stuff, that is out there and needs some form of processing and organizing.
If you recognize these types of email and want to get rid of them in an easy way, read my 8 tips to a succesfull and empty Inbox and read the first chapters of Getting Things Done. You will feel so much better!
(photo courtesy of gorickjones)