Email discipline

Scoble today wrote about losing the battle against email and being unable to keep up – he currently has over 1500 emails he needs to deal with.  As I responded with a couple of ideas to help him out (Ten a day and my email mgmt strategy) it hit me that being successful at taking and keeping control of email is really just the same as any other major focus area in our lives that requires discipline and commitment.

Losing weight.
Running a marathon.
Getting stronger at the gym.
Eating healthy.

All of these are things that are not inherently complicated or tough to achieve with proper discipline, commitment, and motivation.  But so many people struggle with trying to succeed at these tasks.  Why is that?  Often it’s because these goals simply aren’t made a priority in their lives.

Keeping on top of email is exactly the same thing.  If you don’t make it a priority, create a strategy to keep control of your email, and stick to that strategy, you will find yourself losing control again.  And as Robert alludes to, getting behind on email can result in so many other problems nowadays – missing appointments, deadlines, etc.  As I wrote previously, Email is real work and needs to be treated and scheduled for as such.  Carve out time to deal with email and make that as much of a priority as getting any other task done.

I challenge anyone who is having trouble staying on top of their email to set a simple goal.  Have 300 less emails in your inbox (or wherever you keep your pending emails) in one month.  See how many emails you have in your inbox.  Don’t end your workday each day until that number is ten less than the day before.  Stick to this and I am confident many of you will be reducing at a rate of far more than 10 per day soon, and more importantly, will be on the path towards staying in control of your email.

Now if I can just keep on top of writing for my blog more consistently (like writing up my additional thoughts on beta programs I’ve been putting off for far too long)…

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