In it Leo Babauta references a post by David Pogue, NY Times technology writer, videographer, twitterer, etc. etc.
David’s post gives some very good tips on productivity, although Leo takes issue with David’s tip of using your email inbox as a “to-do” list.
I agree with Leo. Some time ago, I ran across a quote that really reinforced my belief that you should not use your inbox as a to-do list. The quote was something to the effect of, “Treat your email inbox as a runway, not as a parking lot.” I don’t recall the author but I owe him or her a debt of gratitude.
I’m a David Allen disciple, he of “Getting Things Done,” perhaps the most famous book on productivity. When I arrive at work, I don’t open my email; rather I open up a software program called gtdagenda.com. (Full disclosure: I was given a free subscription back in October if I would review it. I did and I like it enough to use it every day.)
I use that software to review my “next actions.” As part of that process, I open up my Lotus Notes app and review my calendar and my flagged emails. Once I have prioritized my day, then I begin to read my emails.
Due to budget cutbacks, I don’t travel anymore. Therefore I can strive for inbox zero, the philosophy of having an empty inbox at the end of the day. I am ruthless in either deleting emails or filing them in one of the more than 60 folders I have. Those that require follow ups are flagged. My inbox is generally empty three days out of five.
If you are a frequent traveler, inbox zero may not work for you. On the other hand, perhaps that’s a task you can do in-flight.
It’s all too easy to lose an email in your inbox. Whether or not you reduce your inbox to zero, using flags and filing emails in folders reduces the likelihood you’ll miss an important task.
Bottom line: check out both posts and gtdagenda.com mentioned above. You might just pick up a tip or two that will increase your productivity.
Follow me on Twitter. I’m txglennross