HYPOTHESIS: If I optimize my time while checking email, I will have more time for more important things.

At Catalysters, we have been fans of Getting Things Done (GTD) By David Allen for a long time.  One thing that is hard to master is Inbox Zero.  I came across this short video today that provides 4 principles for managing emails.


I liked the presenter’s challenge to try the following steps for three days and see how this works for you:

  1. 3 times 20 – Only check your email three times a day for a maximum of twenty minutes each. Once late morning, after you do important work. The second time is after lunch and the third is towards the end of your day before you head home.
  2. OTR – One Touch Rule. Only go into each email one time, once you open it, make a decision and process it.  If you leave it there, you keep checking it over and over again.  Avoid repeatedly reading the same email by doing something about it right then. You might archive it, you might reply, you might create a calendar or task item with a specific time you will finish it.
  3. Process all emails. Don’t try to only do the important ones, do all of them.
  4. Unsubscribe from all time-wasting emails. Get rid of the emails that you always archive.

CONCLUSION: By aggregating our email checking time, we can reduce the number of times we re-read emails.