Join us today for an episode about the reason your email inbox is not a good tool for tasks...

Today's episode is focused on developing a better way to manage email...

In today’s episode about investing in yourself by stewarding your time, I talk with you about why your inbox is terrible at task management.  I share what you can do instead to manage email and tasks instead.  I also share how to function in a high email but low value world.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 958: Why Email is NOT a Task Management Tool

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 958 of the inspired stewardship podcast.

[00:00:06] Paul Sohn: I'm Paul Sohn from Quara. I challenge you to discover your true identity and calling so you can be empowered to live everyday to the fullest. One way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott.

[00:00:23] Scott Maderer: to function in a high email, low value world. And what I mean by high email, low value is most people get tons of emails throughout the day, but the vast majority of them are low value. They're just informational or they're something that you need to be aware of, but not act on that. You can read process and file quickly.

[00:00:45] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent and your treasures for your true [00:01:00] calling. And the inspired stewardship podcast will learn to invest in yourself.

[00:01:05] Invest in. And develop your influence so that you can impact the world

[00:01:12] And today's episode about investing in yourself by stewarding your time. I talk with you about why your inbox is a terrible task management tool. I share what you can do instead to manage your email and manage your task. And I also share how to function in a high email, but low value work. As we talk about stewarding your time.

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[00:01:59] I'm a [00:02:00] big proponent of inbox, zero. The idea of emptying out your email inbox or inboxes for some people at the end of each day and keeping it in a relatively empty position where there's maybe one or two emails in there at the end of the day, at the most. And most times you have an inbox of zero, no inboxes in there.

[00:02:26] No emails in that inbox. One of the things I get is pushback about this is, but I use my inbox to manage tasks. I keep in my inbox, all of those emails that eventually I have to follow up on, or they have action that I need to do. Maybe I need to send us some paperwork or I need to get some information together.

[00:02:45] So I can't reply to the email right now today, but eventually in the next few days I need to. And the problem with that is that your inbox is a terrible. Task management tool should have some functionality to give something a due [00:03:00] date, to put things in chronological, order to list things with priorities, to have things disappear where they're not staring you in the face and come back on a regular time.

[00:03:10] And yes, you can snooze email and have it come back. But for many emails, there's tasks that you need to complete outside of the email itself before you can reply. So the truth is what you should be doing with you. First off, you should be checking it a few times a day at set times, not just keeping it open on your inbox on your side and responding to it.

[00:03:34] As soon as an email comes in. Secondly, you should actually, when you do process emails, when you do go through it, the first category of emails that you have are informational, you should just read a process, that information and archive it. If it's something that you find yourself not reading over and over again, you should unsubscribe from that.

[00:03:53] Email communication if at all possible. And if it has information in it that you may want to follow up on or save for [00:04:00] later, you can always create a file or a series of structured folders where you can store various information, create swipe files for content that you may want to go back to at a later time.

[00:04:13] Oftentimes you'll discover that later time never comes, but it still moves it out of your inbox and into a system that you can trust that gets it out of your head. And for items that require action, that isn't action you can do immediately within five or 10 minutes, that you can respond quickly and get it out of your inbox that way.

[00:04:33] Because once you've responded, you can file it. When they respond in turn, it'll pop back into your inbox. Or instead you can take those action items that take longer times, and you can create a task item for that on whatever task management tool that you use, whether it's a sauna or something else. And you can store those tasks there.

[00:04:54] You can assign them a priority. You can assign them a due date where they'll pop back up [00:05:00] and prompt you of what you need to do. You can even put the subject line of the email or a link to the email, depending on the email system you use so that you can go find that email very quickly, even if you've archived it and got it out of your inbox, because you can search for that, that two line, or you can search for that subject line, or you can use the URL to pull it back.

[00:05:21] So once you're ready to respond, you can simply pull the email back up and respond at that time. The truth is that moving those tasks out of your inbox and into a task management tool, lets you manage them because usually what people find themselves doing instead is scrambling to dig through all their emails, to find those, the ones that they have to access.

[00:05:42] Today or that they have to act on soon and they often lose track of those action items because it gets buried in this massive inbox with tons of emails and many of which even ended up going unreal. In this way you can manage email, is it comes in [00:06:00] and manage your task management system. And again, I've been in some very high email environments where I would get as many as a thousand to 2000 emails in a given day.

[00:06:11] And yet I still managed to maintain inbox zero by doing this. Only checking email about four or five times a day at set times for about an hour each time or 30 minutes each time, depending on which time of the day it was, I did a longer block in the beginning of the day, a longer block at the end of the day, and a couple of short blocks in the middle, just to keep up with what was coming.

[00:06:33] And is there any items that I need to respond to immediately? You can, of course also teach people things like putting the word urgent in the subject line, if it's truly something that requires urgent attention so that when you do process your emails, you can check on them very quickly and follow up on those very quickly.

[00:06:53] So in those cases, Simply using your email to identify task is [00:07:00] very different than using your email to manage those tasks, emails, not chronological. It doesn't have a priority system. You can flag emails and those sorts of things, and yes, you can snooze emails so that they pop back up on set times. But that's not as.

[00:07:15] It's most task management tools. The truth is you have to be able to do this to function in a high email, low value world. And what I mean by high email, low value is most people get tons of emails throughout the day, but the vast majority of them. Are low value. They're just informational or they're something that you need to be aware of, but not act on that.

[00:07:39] You can read process and file quickly. They're not usually things that actually create a lot of value in your world. And because of that, you have to manage how much time they take in your world, or else you end up doing a lot of very low. Value high [00:08:00] time work that doesn't really move the needle for you for your business, for your family, for your priorities.

[00:08:07] And in this way, as you begin to function and move out of inbox management and into task management, you will create more value in a high email, low value world. Thanks.

[00:08:21] thanks so much for listening to the inspired stewardship podcast as a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your call. If you liked this episode on the stewardship of time, be sure to sign up for our stewardship of time tips series by going to inspired or texting 4 4, 2, 2, 2 time tips, and that'll get you [00:09:00] our best tips on stewarding your time until next time.

[00:09:05] Invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • Why your inbox is terrible at task management...  
  • What you can do instead to manage email and tasks instead...
  • How to function in a high email but low value world...
  • and more.....

Email is a system that delivers other people's priorities to your attention. It's up to you to decide when that priority should be managed into your world. It's not the other way around. - Chris Brogan

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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