The Morning Clear Out – Conquering Your Inbox – Part One

You know those people that have 321 unread emails and 73 unopened text messages on their phone? I’m not one of them. 😂 I’m the person that needs to have zero emails in my inbox when I leave my desk for the day and as few messages as possible still showing up on my phone when I finally call it a night.

So how do I manage to pull this off you might ask? I’ve established a consistent routine that I use daily to keep my inbox (and my brain) from getting overloaded. And to avoid overloading your brain with too much information all at once, I’m breaking it into three parts. Here’s part 1:

The Morning Clear Out

After feeding and walking my dogs, I sit down for my own breakfast and clear out all of my inboxes on my iPhone.

#1 – Delete – Most junk mail comes through late at night or early in the morning, and clearing it out on my phone gives me the opportunity to delete a whole slew of messages without ever having to actually open them. I love the Edit – Select feature on my iPhone that allows me to tag the emails I don’t need to open and then Trash them in one fell swoop. 👍🏼

#2 – Forward – If the email came to you, but could or should be handled by someone else in your office, forward it along with a quick note and now it’s off of your to do list.

#3 – Quick Reply – Answer any emails that only require a short reply and now they’re off of your to do list as well.

#4 – Save for Later – Anything that will require a longer reply or where checking/gathering additional information is necessary should be saved for when you do get to your desk. However, now that you’ve seen it, you know what’s left in your inbox and will need your attention before the end of the day.

This clear out shouldn’t take more than 3-5 minutes to complete, and now you can relax and enjoy the rest of your breakfast.

In part two I share my strategy for keeping your inbox under control through the course of your workday, click here once you’ve conquered part one and established a morning routine that works well for you to move onto part two.

Need To Have A Difficult Conversation… Try Taking A Walk

My daughter turned 16 this year (I was 27 when she was born, so you can do the math…) which means we’re in full swing of navigating the teenage years and all of the tricky conversations that go along with it. What I’ve come to realize though, is tough subjects are much easier to discuss when we’re both in the car and heading somewhere. Here me out on this one for a minute… If you think back to the last time you had to call an employee into your office and have a difficult conversation, you may find yourself coming to the same realization… No matter how prepared you are, or how much they know about what’s to be discussed before hand, the act of you simply sitting at your desk facing them (the alpha seat) and them sitting on the other side facing you already sets you up for an uncomfortable conversation. Without the distraction of say sharing a meal across the table, one on one meetings can feel more like an interrogation, whether you mean for them to or not.

 

So, back to the car rides with my daughter… while sitting side by side in the car and both facing forward, somehow I’ve found it’s much easier to discuss a difficult or touchy subject. No need to worry about eye contact and maintaining it for too long, and less worry about the full view of your facial expressions as the conversation unfolds. And while you may not be able to hop into a car with an employee and take a drive, you can take a walk around the block, building or jobsite and chat along the way. The neutral territory will help level the playing field (no one likes walking into the bosses office for a meeting) and if you know about how long it will take you to complete the lap (plan out your route ahead of time) it will force you to cut to the chase and get to the point, as opposed to a potential long drawn out conversation in your office which may be more difficult to end.

 

And when you get back to the building, if a follow up needs to be scheduled, or you want to jot down a few notes about the agreement you’ve come to, you can do so then knowing that it’s the final to do before you both move on with your day. So next time you’re dreading calling someone into your office, why not try suggesting taking a walk instead?