Is your email inbox overrun with emails that you never have time to reply to? Do you have a never-ending task list that no matter how hard you try you never get anything done? Today, the goal is to dig out of those emails you’re buried under, get a hold of your task system and up your workday productivity. We recently enlisted the help of Michael Linenberger, author of “The One Minute To-Do List,” to help us reduce the clutter and up our workday productivity. The following tips from Linenberger’s interview on Expert Access Radio will help you get your email and to-do list cleared out in a timely manner.
You are Not Alone
Failing? You are not the only person failing with your organizational skills. Many of your colleagues, people you do business with and even the project managers who do great jobs on their projects, are failing with sorting through their emails and converting them into tasks. “For most of us, our system is not working because people are letting their to-do list get too big. We input too much information,” says Linenberger. “Once they get so big, we give up on them and lose control.” Most people hate to throw things away because they feel committed to them once they’ve written them down. “You need to have a system to manage that. Email is the same way; we all have a tendency to be electronic pack rats, keeping everything regardless of need.”
To-do List Segmentation
If everything is important, then nothing is important. “A lot of us have a tendency to throw our incoming work into our to-do list and think ‘well, I will do the best I can’ and never prioritize that list,” says Linenberger.
To get your to-do list under control, Linenberger recommends that you divide it into three zones, called urgency zones.
Critical-Now – As the top urgency zone, Critical Now is everything that is absolutely positively due today. These are the things that you have to complete before leaving work. In many cases, there are not going to be any of these on a given day.
Opportunity Now– The next urgency zone is called Opportunity Now. These are the things what you will work on today, if you have the opportunity, after you have the critical things done.
Over the Horizon– The third zone is called Over the Horizon. Over the Horizon is for things that can wait more than 10 days. Most people fear this zone. The fear is that they will never get to
it, but this is the zone you have the most control over.
Mixing Work and Pleasure
“Mixing work and non-work tasks is acceptable, as long as you are able to view the to-do list in both places,” says Linenberger. “Some people have separate Outlook email systems at home and work, so they can’t see their tasks in both places.” If this is the case for you, then start another list at home. If you are able to see your to-do list in both places, do it. It will keep both your work to-do list under control and still let you view what you have to do both on your way home, and if there is anything that you have to do once you get there.
Once you get your email and to-do list under control, you can take a step back. Linenberger suggests taking a deep breath and asking yourself what you really want to accomplish in your workday and life. “Start with your workday and make a list of goals with more of a creative energy than just trying to get everything under control,” recommends Linenberger. Once you’re achieving those goals regularly, then step back and ask the same of your life. Let each of your goals build on each other after you have control of your workday and to-do list.
Having a manageable inbox and to-do list is the goal. Once you have those under control, you can then be able to move on to other goals that you are looking to accomplish.
For more tips about removing the clutter from your inbox and to-do list, LISTEN to the complete interview with Michael Linenberger on Expert Access Radio.
information, go to Michael Linenberger’s website.