Did you know every time you reread that email, you’re wasting willpower on a microdecision?
We don’t wake up every morning with a neverending bucket of willpower. Instead, willpower gets depleted throughout the day based on our food intake (type, kind, when), how much sleep we’ve had, how much we’ve moved, and how many decisions we’ve made. Yep. The number of decisions we’ve made, big or small, can deplete our willpower bucket. I had a client tell me that after a two-hour inbox session she was exhausted as if she’d had a hard workout. I was making her look at her behaviors of email processing and DO something with the emails that were in her inbox.
I think of the inbox as a flower garden (stick with me here). Your essential emails are the flowers from your clients, prospects, supervisor, etc. The weeds are the newsletters, junk mail, and already-read emails choking your flowers.
You can’t see the flowers through the weeds.
How many times have you read an email just to get that unread number down to zero, to get that bold font to go away or the badge to disappear on your phone? You just wasted a micro-decision on opening an email, reading it and not doing anything with it.
Instead, OHIO your email.
Only Handle It Once.
If you can tell by the subject line that you won’t be able to do anything with that email right then, don’t even open it, no matter how tempting it is. Don’t waste the decision. If you aren’t able to make a thoughtful response or it’s a task that you need to do later, save it for when you are ready or open it up to assign a task date.
Already opened it thinking you will have time? Your options are to Delete, Delegate, Reply (if less than two minutes), Archive (read and file) or Task. Do you see where there is no option called Come Back Later?
Sorry Michigan fans, but OHIO is the way to go with your email. Same with your physical mail. Why open it if you know you can’t address it yet? If you pay your bills on Saturday, why open the letter on Tuesday from Time Warner Cable. Put it aside until you’re ready.
Only Handle It Once. Shrink your inbox and save your energy for more important decisions throughout the day.
Virtual Training Success Story
When a team decides to invest in themselves, they shrink their inbox with an Email Extinguisher course and work in their line of genius.
A team of nineteen people from an international non-profit wanted to learn how to communicate in a more meaningful and productive way while focusing on the tasks that moved the needle. They decided to invest in a 45-minute Email Extinguisher virtual training session with Marcey Rader and the Work Well. Play More! Institute. Marcey had performed two lunch and learn sessions on Email Extinguisher at the company, and they were intrigued by how this could help their team.
The team was located in California and had a few remote workers, so virtual training was ideal.
Marcey sent out a Productivity Scorecard to see where the team struggled with their email and the most significant pain points. She performed a 45-minute remote session and asked each person to make one commitment to change within the next thirty days. She then resent the Productivity Scorecards at days 30, 90, and 180 from the time of the training.
Marcey focused on email reactivity, treating email like a task, streamlined communication, and settings that optimize workflow. The email check-ins gave Marcey insight into what they were struggling with, and her personal feedback helped them along the way.
The results of the scorecard speak for itself. Before the webinar, 47% of people suffered from email reactivity and telepressure most of the time. In 180 days, that number was zero! Initially, 57% processed email as a task rather than reacted. In 180 days, over 90% of the team used this method. Initially, no one had a system for RSS feeds or newsletters, and in six months, 45% had a system. Lastly, 47% of people were able to entirely unplug on a day off. In six months, that number was up to 86%. Studies have shown that employees who are able to fully disengage come back to work more productive and energized.
All of this came from one 45-minute virtual training. Seventy-three percent of the team agreed that they experienced a difference in team communication after taking the course.
Thank you for the training. I must say it’s given me pause about how much I’ve given over control of my work life to be in responsive mode.
– A.M, Senior Research Epidemiologist
I’ve been doing pretty well with Only Handling It Once. It is making a difference and helping me focus my work based on priorities and not based on my inbox.
– S.R, Research Epidemiologist
Investing in the Work Well. Play More! Email Extinguisher virtual training has proven to be a worthwhile investment for this team. To see the full scorecard results, click here – Productivity Scorecard Summaries.
Would your team like to shrink their inbox and start working in their line of genius? Contact me to find out how!
This infographic about ways to manage your time wisely is speaking my mind. I plan out my top tasks the night before, but always start my day with a meditation and the 5-min journal app. I use Focusboosterapp.com to track my time because most people underestimate how long it will take them to complete a task and I am one of them.
My Work Well. Play More! door hanger is the sign to my husband that I'm in deep focus mode. He's respectful and knows not to interrupt me. I time box my social media and batch my tasks. Mondays I work on my presentations and upcoming speaking gigs, Tuesdays are for website edits, Wednesdays are social media, etc. Read on for more great tips!
What items are you most likely to forget?
Your power cord? Underoos? A toothbrush?
Have you traveled all day without hangry snacks and wanted to fight someone for their peanuts?
Stop wingin’ it and use a list.
Listicizing your packing keeps your precious brainspace free to do more important things like brush your cat before you leave, get in an interval run, give your kids one last hug or watch one more episode of Downton Abbey. Travel packing lists are one area where I think they should definitely be digital. This way you can add, delete and reuse. I keep mine in Evernote and have different lists for business travel, weekend casual travel, mountain bike races, running races, adventure races and camping. Here’s a sample list. I don’t always take everything but it’s there for me to decide whether or not to check off. In Evernote, there are checkboxes. They just don’t copy over here.
- Casual or travel outfits
- Business clothes for each day
- Sweater or jacket
- Dress socks, hose, or tights
- Dress shoes
- Shoe bag or shower cap for shoes
- Vitamin box for jewelry
- Sports Bra
- Workout Clothes
- Athletic Socks
- Sprigs Wrist Banjee
- Exercise Equipment – Jetsetter, Grid
- Road ID
- Tennis ball
- Gypsy wrap or bandanna
- Shampoo, Conditioner
- Hair Product
- Face Wash/Wipes
- Face Lotion
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toothpaste, toothbrush and floss
- Hand lotion or balm
- Feminine essentials
- Athletic tape
- Dr Bronner for detergent and body wash
- Purse, wallet or utility belt, Sprigs Wrist Banjee
- Credit Cards/Cash
- Phone charger
- Laptop charger/spare cord
- Heart rate monitor
- Mini First Aid Kit
- Hand Warmers/Toe Warmers
- Sleep Sack/Liner
- Sandwich Bags
- Large Ziplock bags for separating outfits
- Duct tape
- Sleep mask
Often people expect me to be super organized, but I'm organized enough.
They think when they open my pantry that everything will be labeled and facing the same way Sleeping With the Enemy style. They expect that I have an inbox full of folders and never miss a birthday. I am very organized, but I think for some people the act of organizing is a mask for procrastinating. (more…)
Lots going on for me lately! First up, my new kit with Rubberbanditz exercise bands. I'm super excited about this kit and determined that everything in it is all a mobile professional or business traveler needs to stay fit on the road. I keep a kit in my car and have performed a couple of sets of exercises while waiting for a meeting, a client, or on the road at the gas station. My favorite part of the kit is the door strap. (more…)