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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life by Maura Nevel Thomas

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Chapter 11

Controlling Your Email

In this chapter

  • New perspectives on email management
  • Responding versus reacting
  • Review, Process, Do
  • The 60-second rule
  • Starting with a clean slate

Prior chapters covered the benefits of minimizing clutter, both physical and digital, and Chapter 10 introduced the difference between “processing” and “completing” as you work to reduce the clutter in your life. In this chapter and the next, I give you everything you need to take control of one of the biggest sources of digital clutter—your email inbox—and you even learn how to get it to zero immediately.

The Role of Email in a Modern Life

Two common perspectives on email are that it is something that is vitally important that must be attended to constantly, or that it’s a nuisance to be ignored. Many of my clients have wistfully considered the idea of deleting all of their email messages and starting over, which is immediately followed by the realization that within a few days or a few weeks, they’d be back where they started, drowning in messages.

In order to implement a process for effective email management, it’s important to consider the role it plays in your personal and professional life. How much a part of your work is email, really? On the one hand, many people feel that they could get much more done if they didn’t have to deal with email, and I’m sure that is true. Has there ever been a time when your corporate email server was down, or you’ve been otherwise unable to access your messages? ...

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