Hey, hey! Rob Brown of Encore Partners here.

Welcome to day 2 of the 21-day Time Mastery Challenge where you’re going to get at least 5 to 10 hours back every week and massively improve your personal productivity.

As I said, this is day 2…I hope you found yesterday to be enlightening. That simple exercise of elimination, getting rid of those subscriptions, getting rid of those distractions, getting rid of those interruptions that come in to your email inbox.

I hope you saw how much junk, maybe you didn’t call it junk, but stuff that was filling up your inbox, was causing you to be distracted. And I bet you’ll see where you’ll save at least a half an hour every day because you won’t be reading or responding to those emails or to those alerts.

Today, I want to continue on the theme of creating space.

As I said, over the first few days of this challenge, I want to quickly get to the point of having an hour or two back in your day.  Quickly accomplishing that initial goal of 5 to 10 hours a week of time savings.

I want to create some more space today and I want to do it in the same place, in your email box. I’m calling this Email Nirvana – Part 2…

…liberating you from the shackles of your email.

I want to talk about your email management system. Maybe a better way to think about that is your email inbox management system. And I want to use four words to describe this process:

Delete, delegate, delay, and do.

These are very similar to my regular planning techniques where I talk about eliminating, delegating, automating, and prioritizing. This is just how you do it email style and, again, like yesterday’s activity, if you do this right, you’ll probably get 30 to 60 minutes back in your day.

Here’s how it works: when you check your email make one of four decisions. First of all, decide can I just delete this? So, if it’s an email that’s coming in, it’s not one of those emails that you should be unsubscribing from that we talked about yesterday, it’s really not important but you can’t unsubscribe for the future, just delete it.

Don’t save it, don’t think about it. Just delete it, get rid of it.

The second thing I want you to do when you’re looking at those emails is decide which ones you can delegate. You have people that work around you on your team, in your office, maybe they’re strategic partners that help you from outside of your office.

Who are the people that really help you with your business? Are some of those emails that you’re receiving, especially if you’re being copied on them…are those things that somebody else should be doing?

They’re just putting you into the “loop”.

In fact, some of those that you’re being copied on probably just ought to be deleted. But if you can’t delete them, and something needs to be done, delegate them. If it’s not in your sweet spot of your most important activities, delegate it. Send it to somebody who can get it done and ask them to respond to you when they’ve finished so you don’t even have to think about it again.

So, if you can’t delete it, the next thing you can do is delegate it.

Sometimes, you’ll get an email that perhaps needs some more time, you need to be able to think about it or it’s something that you really want to read…a research report, some news, whatever it may be. I would suggest that you do is you create an email box that you call delay.

This is where you put things that you want to look at later.

These are not things that you need to do today; in fact, there may be no time priority on them at all. But you want a way to get back to them. Create that email folder that says “delay” or “read later”. I don’t care what you call it, but have a box for that type of material so that it’s not sitting in your inbox. I’m going to talk about your inbox a little bit more in a second.

So, that’s the third thing you can do. If you can’t delete it and you don’t delegate it, maybe you should be delayed. Maybe you should save it for later, it’s not a priority.

The fourth thing that you can do with items that are in your inbox is decide what you’re going to do, what you’re going to act on. And so, what I would do is create a second email folder that you call “do” or “priorities”. This folder is for anything that you need to work on today, not tomorrow, not next week. Anything you work on today put it in the “do” folder, put it on the “today” folder, put it on the “priorities” folder, whatever you want to call it.

This way each piece of email that comes in to your inbox has a place, you’re not looking at things repeatedly unless they’re something that you need to do with them either in the future or today.

It’s incredibly important to think of your email box in this way.

Delete, delegate, delay, do.

And I’m going to talk about some other ways to handle email and how to prioritize that in your day a little bit later in the program. But for today, for day 2 of the 21-day challenge, I want you to create that “delay” box or that “read later” box, that “do” box, that “priorities” box so that you know where to put the stuff that you’ll need to be working on and that, as things come in, you delete them and delegate them whenever possible.

The more you delete, the more you delegate, the less you have to do.

And if the things that you’re leaving yourself to do are important things, your business will benefit and you’ll save a ton of time.

So, with that concept in mind, the big thing that I want you to do today, because I don’t want you just doing this with your emails from today going forward, I want you to look in your inbox.

Tell me, how many emails are in your inbox?

I look over people’s shoulders all the time, I see their inboxes with dozens or even hundreds. I actually saw one inbox with over 3,000 emails in it. Talk about clutter, talk about distraction, talk about worrying about when am I going to get that done.

When it’s in your inbox, it’s hard to ignore it.

The dishes have stacked up and you don’t want to cook that meal. So, what I want you to do is I want you to clean out your inbox today. I want you to delete things, I want you to delegate things, I want you to delay things that need to be delayed, and I want you to prioritize or do the things that need to be done.

On an ongoing basis, if you have more than 10 items in your inbox, it’s too many.

That’s right, that’s what I said. If you have more than 10 items in your inbox, that’s too many. On a typical day, I have fewer than five items in my inbox. Not 500, not 50, not 5,000. Five.

Think about it. How different would things look if you went to check your email, the time that you check your email on a regular basis, and only saw a couple items. You dint have 100 or 200 things in there kind of distracting you. I only have a few things, the most recent things that have come in that I haven’t yet had a chance to delete, delegate, delay, or do.

So, that’s what I want you to do today.

This is easily another half an hour to an hour back in your day every day if you do this regularly and consistently. So, that’s day 2 of the 21-day Time Mastery Challenge, the second part of Email Nirvana.

Create an email management system. Remember: delete, delegate, delay, do. And then clean out your inbox using that very same system. By now, you have a big head start on getting those 5 to 10 hours back in your week…each and every week.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk again tomorrow.


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