Triage your email by focusing on your wheelhouse
Photo courtesy Flickr user cjc4454
We're all deluged with so much email that many of us live in imminent danger of being completely overwhelmed by the volume. I frequently write about ways to deal with email more effectively, like 10 rules for more effective email and 3 strategies for better email management. Recently, I ran across an interesting suggestion for how to better clean out your inbox by choosing which messages to respond to first.
Megan Morris, at Productive Flourishing, suggests that you can't always cleanly choose between mail based just on how important it is. In other words, priority isn't necessarily the only criteria you should apply to helping manage your inbox.
Instead, to deal with mail more quickly, she suggests doing your normal triage and then dividing what remains into two categories:
Wheelhouse email. This is anything about which you consider yourself the subject matter expert -- you can do this better than anyone else, so it only makes sense that you tackle it. Even better, it's a message that aligns with your work goals or commitments, so responding to the message helps further your own tasks and projects.
Peripheral email. This is pretty much everything else that's still important -- this is stuff that you don't know or understand as well, or doesn't directly align with your commitments. You might still need to respond to these messages, but they either can -- or must -- wait for you to have the time and energy to devote to them.
Megan concludes: "The more impact I want to make in the world, the more I focus on my Wheelhouse emails. Then I come back to the Peripherals once I feel accomplished with the highest leverage items."
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