(Self) Management Minute:
Musings on Clean Up Your Inbox Week With Grant
Today begins the observance of a critical moment within the overall space of productivity and
work-life balance: Clean Out Your Inbox Week.
Although I generally abide in space where I do not permit shame, I do mark every work email read and turn off the red notification badge for personal accounts. My email hygiene honors Glennon Doyle Melton’s concept of the “untamed,” but is beginning to feel like a dirty secret… Because email is a two-faced beast of productivity, let’s take a moment together to engage both the clarity and anxiousness my inbox can hold.
Ditch the “Focused Inbox”
|Any automated system of tabs on the present market feels to me like a misnomer. I find that not only do many things go unnoticed but that this feature acts like MiracleGro for my unread count. Grouping messages by thread seems to help me keep organized and focused on the actionable conversation when moving through the day rather than searching through pre-defined screens. Take a week to note who you have the most productive conversations with and what items you’re discussing. Build your system of filters and conversation tags using this information so that your favorite email platform or app is authentic to your productivity.|
Allow Yourself Time to Manage Mail
|I will be the first to admit that I have gone for significant periods believing that email is not a “legitimate” use of my time on the clock. There is no productivity lost to quality communication, and the validity battle is mostly a lie. Three words: Give yourself time. Think of email as an opportunity to foster collaboration and organize thoughts rather than a necessary evil.Set up categories, VIP contacts, folders, or whatever makes you feel organized while changing your relationship with email. Knowing where essential notes are is the first step towards making your inbox work for you rather than working for your inbox.|
Prioritize Real Communication
|Email and other forms of asynchronous communication are extraordinarily convenient and necessary for the modern workplace. No less, there is still a unique power in making a phone call, pausing for a video chat, or sitting down with work partners. While working as an NHA in a facility, I found that the pause to make a call or visit allowed me to refresh my mind and clarify thoughts in ways message exchange could not. Don’t discount other forms of communication that, while they may require a little more time, could lead to higher productivity and positivity throughout the workday.|
Develop a Habit
|Stick to it. Once a week, I spend at least an hour weeding through automatic notifications and messages that I will not need going into the next Monday. As I shared earlier, it’s no loss of productivity to spend time archiving or filing communication so that you can set yourself up for success. If you wouldn’t feel bad about cleaning the surface of your desk or filing papers, pause to regard your inbox as equally important. Try different approaches to develop a unique workflow that empowers you, but know that it takes six workweeks to make it stick. Falling off is only natural between travel, appointments, and meetings, and changing workload — forgive yourself and stay moving towards a cleaner inbox and clearer headspace.|
Enjoy your clutter-free inbox!
Grant Beebe, NHA, MBA,
Director of Clinical Innovation | Think Anew