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Put off today what you can do tomorrow…

Email inboxIf you look around the GTD world, if you listen in to board rooms, conference rooms, at the water cooler, on phone conversations to spouses and on and on you’ll hear the same groan – email.  Email hell, email jail, inbox/sinbox; it’s all the same.  Email is the new voicemail.  We’ve made ourselves available in an all too easy fashion.  Despite our best attempts at a great day, email is there waiting for us at work in the morning with an evil grin.  During the day, best laid plans to keep the inbox clean never come to fruition (save for an issue with your IT/IS department).  We can obsess about keeping the inbox at zero all we want but the fact remains it is a futile fight. I am happy to report that on numerous occasions while implementing GTD that I have been able to put things into context and I have been able to clean out my inbox on a Friday afternoon (and sometimes other days as well).  But the best of us still back slide at times.  It’s inevitable.Numerous websites have offered up a few tips like answering your email 2 times a day and actually auto-replying to all emails that you only answer at this time or that time.  That’s a difficult proposition for those who don’t have laid out schedules that start and end at the same time each day.  It may work for some – it just doesn’t work for me.Over the weekend I came across another thought about email.  Actually it’s part of a 32 page e-book from Mark McGuinness called Time Management for Creative People.   Mark has many great thoughts adapted from Getting Things Done, but he adds his own including how to focus better at work and how to “ring-fence” your creative time so that you save a special time of the day for when your creative juices are at their highest.  But one of my favorite points is simply this – don’t answer your email until the following day.  By waiting one day you allow yourself the luxury of not becoming a slave to email.  By waiting one day you know the next day how much email you need to reply to and can schedule yourself accordingly.  When you have answered that last email a sense of accomplishment should reside within you for the day’s achievements regardless of how many emails you may need to answer the next day.  Mark does point out the need to talk with your boss about this, but for those who have understanding employers this may make you not only a creative individual, but an accomplished one as well.