I heard someone once say “your inbox is someone else’s to-do list for you.” It is not under your control and should not be the guide to how you run your day. In an effort to manage this I decided to track my inbox distractions.
I was originally planning on this being “a month in an email inbox”, but after just one week, I had more than enough non-essential emails to analyze and see just how much time I was wasting. In an attempt to streamline my own workday and become more efficient, I’m adding these to my Daily Distraction Total (DDT-not to be confused with this or this).
In just one week I received 125 emails that I consider Scams (blatant attempts to steal my identity, money, or compromising photos), Spam (business related emails that I had no connection to), or Pork (business related emails that I did have a connection to).
- Surprisingly, I only received 7 outright Scam emails, or 5% of my email DDT. Luckily, I did not fall for any of these, although I did make some international friends that are starting new business ventures. You can’t do much about these, so I crossed my fingers that my filters will continue to work well.
- Likewise, I only received 16 Spam emails. These newsletters/offers may be interesting to some, but I had no idea how they got my email, and the content was not at all relevant to me. These were all a quick ‘unsubscribe’. This 12% of my DDT is now permanently gone, and I won’t think twice about it.
- What I didn’t expect was that the vast majority (75%) of my DDT was from emails that I had control over, or Pork! I had 92 emails that were newsletters I had signed up for, social media notifications, and professional organization event notices. I went on a rampage of unsubscribing and setting my email permissions to take in this information in a usable manner. However, I did have a couple that I stayed with for relationship preservation reasons, even though I don’t consistently see value in them.
- When it all came down to it, I had 10 emails that I wanted, anticipated, and enjoyed, a mere 8%. Good content is hard to come by!
Managing your own time is a key to remaining and improving efficiency. Reducing email distractions is just one way. What other tools do you use to keep focused?
While you think about it, I need to go take those compromising photos off the cloud.