This is Part 2 of a post about inbox zero. Be sure to check out Part 1: Why inbox zero is the wrong measuring stick
I typically get pushback at this point about the argument against inbox zero. The “Yeah, but…” begins.
- Yeah, but I can’t ignore the rest of my emails.
- Yeah, but I don’t want my inbox clogged with a bunch of unfiled emails.
- Yeah, but I also have to respond to emails from clients.
I’m not saying your other emails are unimportant. Or suggesting you’ll only address the 4 operations-related emails and ignore the rest.
Attention, time, and energy
But I am saying those 4 emails are essential—aka: your top priority. They get your full attention, adequate time, and best energy.
When you handle those 4 emails, you can feel good about aligning your attention, time, and energy with what’s most important. In other words, aligning with your essential-now.
Your measuring stick is no longer inbox zero. Instead, it’s: Did I deal with emails related to my essential-now?
If the answer is yes, mission accomplished. You didn’t just put out fires and do busywork filing away unimportant emails. You focused on your priority, which is golden in moving forward your larger goals.
If the answer is no, try again tomorrow. Recommit to your essential-now. Give your priority the best you have in terms of your attention, time, and energy.
Your essential-now over time
Your essential-now will change over time. Not daily or weekly. Perhaps not even monthly.
But it’s reasonable to change your essential-now quarterly or at least yearly as the needs of your business—and life—change.
Perhaps one quarter your essential-now is operations in your business. The next six months might be focused on client acquisition. The next quarter on reviewing and revamping your marketing.
When it comes to life, perhaps you declare the coming 365 days as The Year of Less is More. Simplifying is your essential-now, and the focus and filter for how you spend your attention, time, and energy.
Or maybe you divide the year into quarters and your essential-now looks like this:
- 1st Quarter: Decluttering
- 2nd Quarter: More Movement
- 3rd Quarter: Better Relationships
- 4th Quarter: Financial Health
You get the idea. The big takeaway is not everything can be equally important—and if you have five priorities, you have none.
Deciding on and declaring your essential-now is a brave thing to do. Even more daring is to say “yes” to your priority with your attention, time, and energy while saying “no” to everything else.
What will you ignore so you can focus on your essential-now?
Recently the topic of inbox zero came up with a couple clients. One was discouraged that her attempts at inbox zero had failed. She consistently ended the day with multiple emails remaining in her inbox. Another client was ending each day with zero emails in her inbox, but this wasn’t making her feel more organized […]Continued...
One of my responsibilities as a coach is to provide my clients with external accountability. You want to get 10 new clients this quarter? What will you do to make that happen and when will you do it? You want to develop a new online course as a service offering? What are the milestones and […]Continued...
The other day a client was lamenting a bad habit she’d developed: Hitting the snooze button and rolling over for a few more minutes of sleep…and then hitting snooze for a few more minutes…and then snoozing again. The result of this nearly hour-long snooze and roll? She was still technically getting up “on time”—if on […]Continued...
The other day I deleted over two dozen apps from my iPhone. No, not Pokemon GO (haven’t yet caught the craze). These apps were mostly to help me be more productive and informed. So, am I opting out of productivity? No longer interested in what’s going on in the world? No on both counts. Here’s […]Continued...
There are all the inspiring quotes about setbacks: Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. —Winston Churchill Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. —F. Scott Fitzgerald Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. —Dale […]Continued...