My work life is extremely hectic and provides a challenge in organization every single day. There are a myriad of voices that require my undivided attention. Everyone has an emergency that represents the end of the world. Of course all end of the world scenarios are not made equal and thus priorities are born. My long standing motto is, "if everything is an emergency, then nothing truly is".

I have a variety of ways to deal with my workload, but one of the key indicators of a backlog is the size of my email inbox. For me the inbox is the electronic equivalent to my to-do list. It represents the weight of the work I have yet to complete or even assess, it represents a list of intrusion that patiently wait for an opening into my already hectic work life. My goal then is to limit that list to a single page, which for some reason translates for me into a manageable backlog.

For the last 9 months or so I have been doing very well with handling my inbox by prioritizing what gets my attention, I apply the following rules via Outlook:

  • If I am CC’ed on an email it actually goes to a secondary folder, my assumption is that if I am not in the To list it was at best a “for your information” (this rarely backfires).
  • If I am sent an email as part of a group or listing update that also goes to a secondary folder.

This really works for me, my attention is given to emails that deliberately target me, the only downside is that now I have two inboxes.