I think one of the fears many of us have this era is that of e-mail overload. When you work in a field that is specifically focused around communication that happens digitally, it isn’t a surprise that e-mails often come fast and furious. I’m scared to figure out the average, but I easily send or receive hundreds of messages each day.
When it comes to me, I sometimes feel like it is a never ending battle to make sure I respond to e-mails pertaining to both my professional work as well as other blogging and writing I do on the side. Added stress is that I tend to be “dual wielding” both a BlackBerry for work e-mails (while not my client, full disclosure that my company does work for the device’s manufacturer) and another smart phone that handles my personal e-mail and phone calls. Even when away from my desk, I’m still feeling the bombardment.
My “trick” for handling the deluge is something many others in my industry turn to as a tactic for getting things done: the notion of Inbox Zero. I was turned onto this by a BC classmate of mine, Kyle Paice, a few years ago, and it has been a key way for me to keep on top of the communications that come my way. If a message has something actionable for me to get back to a client, colleague, co-author or group of friends, it stays in my inbox until I address it. If not? It gets filed away quickly into my archives and out of sight.
I was never big on to-do lists (although I still jot them down on occasion), but this method has become my way of handling the many various deliverables every day. There is a lot of relief when both of my inboxes are cleared – I’m actually fairly close this morning as you can see in this picture to the left. It is something I dedicate most of my first and last hours of each day to keeping on track, and it’s a constant battle to keep things moving in this fast paced industry.