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Keeping edges clean, inboxes empty

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  • Keeping edges clean, inboxes empty

    I frequently go through the craziness of having too many big projects due. That leads to my naturally leaving my email inbox with stuff in it, and my regular inbox full.

    No more. The big things that take up lots of time cannot prevent me from being diligente about cleaning my inboxes. That is crtitical to sanity, especially with the big projects breathing down my neck.

    I feel such a relief at the end of the day when I clean out the inboxes (paper and email). It is critical to the desired results in using the GTD methodology.


  • #2
    Empty inbox is critical

    Have found that my productivity is related to the state of my inbox. I work in an organization obsessed with CYA. I get hundreds of CC'c and reply-to-all's every day that are just flac to cover someones behind. My inbox is deep and mostly meaningless. I have to dump the flak into sender-specific archives (god forbid the finger of blame is pointed at me and I can't come up with the covering emails!). In one meeting I was blamed fo three process failures. Upon returning to my desk, I dug up all three email comunications and did my own reply-to-all with the original communications chains.

    Once I've waded through the junk, I can get the few action items into my GTD system and begin making progress. I still get burried occasionally, but I do a weekly email cleansing.


    • #3
      Keeping Edges Clean

      I am working on the annual event which is the biggest and most laborious project of my year (as fundraiser for a nonprofit healthcare agency). In the past, when the going got tough, I started a list called "When the Dust Settles." I shoved more and more things aside, then looked forward to getting back to them when the event was over. Bad plan. Other threads in this Forum have discussed the pathological "charge" we can get from letting things pile up. Recently, even in the face of deadlines, I have willed myself to do a mini-review of my desk. It has shaken out details, reminded me of critical steps, and generally helped me to sleep better. I'm nowhere near what I would call "successful" with GTD. But the suggestions to keep that inbox empty are points well taken.


      • #4
        I forgot this recently: processing your Inbox doesn't take long at all. It seems like a hellish burden because when you process, you have to think, but in terms of time it's speedy, much faster than actually doing the work.

        So get that Inbox clean! It's not as hard as it seems. Once all that stuff is in your lists instead of in your Inbox, you will feel much better about life.


        • #5
          I'm still new to GTD (about 2-1/2 weeks), but when I heard David talk about empty inboxes and working from zero, for some reason a light bulb went off (I guess it was a pure BFO). That same day I emptied my 100+ e-mail & 20+ phone inboxes into folders, lists, & trash and have not ended a single day since with anything in either place. It's difficult to explain, but just the sight & sound of "no messages" is liberating. I know that new stuff is creeping in there the minute I turn my back, but I'm ready to slay those dragons as soon as I get back to the computer or phone. I recommend that anyone be completely ruthless on this point and feel the rush each time the last nagging e-mail or message is properly dispatched to its "next action" or its "grave", whichever it deserves.


          • #6
            A friend suggested this tip, which I haven't tried yet, but she says it works for her: she routes ALL her email into trash, and then she says she drags out the few things that aren't trash into her IN box !

            I haven't tried it yet because I'm afraid of missing something, but it's tempting!