Don’t Let Your Phone Replace The Money In Your Pocket
By Glenn Fisher, Editor at Creating Wealth
The statistics vary, but according to one report out of the website TechCrunch, a huge 75% of Gmail users access their inbox on a mobile device.
And frankly, there is an endless amount of research out there that confirms your phone has in effect become your inbox.
Hmmm. Maybe not.
You see, that means our inbox is with us almost 24/7. As I say, most of the time it’s right there in your pocket.
It’s no wonder that so often these days, rather than managing our inboxes, we end up letting our inboxes manage us.
Just think how often you’ve ended up doing something that you weren’t planning to because you received an allegedly urgent email that took you off track.
That’s happened to you, right?
And sure, in a world where everyone expects everything immediately, in the short term it might even seem like a positive development — Hey, we got that thing done now instead of later, isn’t that great?
Maybe. But what happened to the thing you had planned to do? What got sacrificed to serve the new priority?
Or, as one reader pointed out:
What happens if you’ve just got so many emails coming in on a daily basis, all begging to be prioritised, that you just don’t know where to even start?
It can be utterly debilitating.
It affects your ability to concentrate, focus and strive to achieve the goals that you’ve identified as being most important to you.
So, it pays to understand how to better manage the inboxes in our pocket.
Different people, different systems
Unlike your postman, email doesn’t politely ring the doorbell when there’s too much to fit through the letterbox.
Email just shoves it all in regardless.
And if that means a mess on your doormat…
So be it!
In the modern world, as I say, email overload is probably one of the biggest hurdles to success we face and the fact that for most people the problem is beaming directly into your pocket 24/7, it’s worrying.
So what’s the best approach to dealing with it?
Well, truth is you need to find the system that works best for you. There are a few. But here I’d like to first share two systematic approaches with you…
And then tell you what a self-made millionaire does to manage the problem.
First up, we have this option:
1) Set time/Detail reply (STDR)
The STDR approach takes some discipline but its advocates afford it high praise.
The trick is in setting a specific time each day to deal with your emails and sticking to it.
Let’s say you decided to check your emails at 3pm each day for 1 hour. For the rest of the day, if possible, simply close down your inbox — pretend it doesn’t exist.
In the modern age that might well sound like madness, but the time you’ll save by being able to focus on your work will be enormous.
Just think how often you check or receive email during the day — say every ten minutes at least. If that email just takes 2 minutes to open, read and close (let alone deal with and the distraction element) you’re wasting 10 minutes of every hour. An 8-hour day and you’ve lost 1 hour and 20 minutes.
And remember, you’re probably not even dealing with those emails efficiently — they’re just distractions, taking away time from something you had already given importance to.
So it makes sense to dedicate a specific hour to dealing with your email properly and answering each reply in detail during that time.
If you find that an hour isn’t enough, you can add more time, depending on what works for you. Those who use the STDR method tend to have an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
But if you do decide to try out this method, you should also be sure to set up an ‘out of office’ email that explains that you’re checking your email at X time and will respond accordingly after X time.
Overtime, those who email you often won’t bother with unnecessary emails because they will self-prioritise, instead only sending you the emails that count.
2) Any time/Set reply (ATSR)
The second approach used by some is ATSR.
This works better for those who are able to work effectively despite email interruptions or if your position requires you to check your email on a regular basis.
You check your email as normal but you answer the email with a standard reply…
You see there are essentially only two types of email. An email that can be dealt with immediately and an email that needs further consideration.
Check your email any time dealing with the first type as usual — get it out the way. But as soon as you run into an email of the second type, stop.
If it can’t be dealt with there and then, file the email to be dealt with at another time. But to prevent the person who is emailing you thinking that you’ve just ignored them, email them a set reply that explains that you’ve received the email but need to give it some more consideration. As soon as you have you’ll provide them with the reply they need.
This will help maintain an effective relationship with your clients and by highlighting those emails that require follow up, you’ll be encouraged to set aside the time to deal with them.
Happily you can print off the email and deal with it outside of your inbox, leaving behind a much cleaner battlefield.
Unfortunately the electronic postman seems to have a sixth sense about these things, so don’t expect the emails to stop!
How A Self-Made Millionaire Handles His Inbox
If the approaches above don’t work for you, perhaps you might find some use in what the founder of our Wealth Builders Club and self-made millionaire, Mark Ford, does to manage an overloaded inbox.
Mark’s first step comes from Tim Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week and it’s that you shouldn’t feel guilty…
“Recognize that you receive too much information. It’s not your fault. Just accept that there is more information than time, and that it’s increasing every day.”
Mark goes on to explain that Ferriss offers “three ways to deal with e-mail overload. You can ‘live by reaction’ and feel increasingly stressed and confused. You can opt out by not reading anything. Or you can practice ‘bit literacy’ by getting ‘some information — the right information — without trying to get all of it.’”
The third option is, in my opinion, the best way to go. And to some degree it’s what I already do myself.
My work requires that I sign up to receive a whole host of e-letters and bulletins so that I can whittle through them and let you know about the good ones.
Frankly, though, some of what I receive is appalling and largely pointless. This stuff, as Mark suggests, should be ditched straight off the bat.
But that still leaves you with a ton of stuff, a more manageable ton, but still enough to stress you out.
So, of this good stuff, Mark suggests, “you can then divide the good stuff into ‘worth scanning’ and ‘solid gold’.”
“E-mails worth scanning,” says Mark, “are from sources that reliably deliver at least some relevant information.”
“Solid-gold e-mails are from those rare sources that provide useful tips and insights every single time.”
I have a few solid gold emails that I always read. However, where Mark suggests reading these first, what I do personally is put these to the side.
Because I am confident the information in them will be useful and informative, I want to give them the time they deserve.
It’s the ‘worth scanning’ emails that I go through first. Quickly scanning them to see if there’s something inside the email that could warrant it being promoted (on this occasion) to solid gold status.
If a scan fails to pull anything out of the email…
It’s then time to turn to the ‘solid golds’ and read them, making notes if appropriate or filing them away for later reference.
Get the idea and then get outta there
However, what’s to be done if you’re still being drowned in email, even though you’ve been so selective?
Mark has an answer:
“Follow the Power of One rule. Scan your solid-gold e-mails until you find one good and useful idea — an idea you can implement immediately. Then stop reading.”
He goes on:
“Remember, you don’t have to know everything — or even most of what there is to know — to succeed at most endeavours. There are hundreds of ways to make money on the Internet, for example, but you can easily make a six-figure income by using only a few of them.”
So, on reading through the email, once you hit upon an inspiring idea you’re done and you can get on with putting that idea into action.
Hopefully you’ll notice that on most occasions, my emails focus on one idea. I do so intentionally.
I understand that your time is valuable and you haven’t got time to be reading through a load of different ideas each day.
I aim Creating Wealth to be something you can read in about five minutes and once you’ve finished reading you’ll have a piece of information or an idea that you can take away and implement in your life (and maybe you’ll be entertained a bit too).
I certainly hope that’s how it works for you.
So, to prevent information overload today we’ll call it the end here and I’ll let you tackle your own inbox…
Remember: get rid of the rubbish (and don’t feel guilty), sort the good into ‘worth scanning’ and ‘solid gold’, pick up one important idea, and then get outta there!
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