How many to-do lists do you have? I bet you’ve got many more than one! And this is a good thing! If you read my post about jotting down everything, then you know that I'm all for writing down your ideas, tasks, and other things. But at the end of the day, all of those things should be visible in one common to-do list.
I used to be subscribed to more than 100 mailing lists. My inbox was constantly bombarded with newsletters, updates, and offers. I tried to filter these emails, but it was a very cumbersome process. I didn’t want to just delete them or move them to spam, because I knew that something interesting might be in them. So I would save them, thinking I would read them later. Of course, this “later” never came. Luckily, I can say that I used to do this, and that I don’t do it anymore. Do you want to know my solution to this challenge? Of course you do!
The solution is called “Unroll.me”. This is an online service. You register for it and then connect it with your email account. Unroll.me scans your emails, looking for any sign of newsletters, subscription lists, or any other emails of this type. After scanning your emails, it gives you a list of all of your subscriptions. I’m warning you, this list is surprisingly long. You can decide what to do with each item on the list. And you have three options to choose from:
- Unsubscribe - you will be removed from a given subscription list,
- Add to rollup - the chosen subscription list will be added to your daily email with a summary of all new releases you are subscribed to and want to be updated with,
- Keep in inbox - nothing will be changed, and your emails will stay in the inbox.
You should go through the list and decide what to do with each newsletter. It is a very simple process. What do you end up with? A much cleaner inbox and one single email with a summary of all new newsletters you are subscribed to. If you are one of those people who is subscribed to multiple subscription lists, you will love this service ——which, by the way, is free to use.I checked the stats on my Unroll.me account today. I was very surprised when I saw them.
- so far, I’ve unsubscribed from 326 subscription lists. 326!
- I still keep 46 subscriptions in my inbox
- my every day rollup includes emails from 33 subscribed sources
Can you imagine receiving hundreds of more emails? That would require you to make so many more decisions every day! I’m very happy with this service. If you subscribe to a lot of newsletters like I do, I strongly recommend that you use this service. If you are striving to reach inbox zero, this is a solution that may help you reach that goal.
You can learn more about Unroll.me from their video
How do you clean up your inbox? How do you manage these kinds of emails? Do you treat them as spam? What is your system?
Today I'm writing about the latest productivity technique I have implemented in my everyday work - checking my inbox 2-3 hours after the beginning of the work day.
Plenty of techniques exist to increase one's productivity. While reading books, magazines (like Productivity Magazine), listening to talks, and reading blogs, I am overwhelmed with a number of new ideas on how to be more productive.
I’ve tried many of them, and checked how they work in practice. Some are very good and I’ve incorporated them into my productivity system (I will describe it soon). Many of those ideas do not work for me but they are still worth discussing. Maybe they will work for you.
My work is a mix of conceptual and operational tasks (strategic vs tactical). By conceptual, I mean defining new services, optimizing the way my team works, and creating reports. Operational tasks are all of those that I need to do every day to allow my team to work smoothly - e.g. task assignment, communication, and meetings.
I receive a lot of e-mails every day - several dozens. I bet you do too. Till now, checking my inbox was the second thing I was doing in the morning, just after planning my day. I am in the office at 7AM, which means that I used to process the first e-mails around 7:30AM. By processing emails, I mean applying David Allen's GTD methodology (Delete, Defer, Delegate or Do - this I will cover in a separate post). Very often "Do" means answering the e-mail.
Now you’re probably thinking - what is so bad about answering e-mail?
What would you do if I answered your e-mail? You would probably answer me back. This is what happens in most cases. One processed e-mail results in a new e-mail to process. Because of this, I end up processing e-mails for the first 2 hours of my day.
I’ve decided to change my approach to e-mail. For the last few weeks I’ve had a new rule - no Outlook till 9AM. What do I do instead? I work :) Now each morning is the most productive part of my day. This is the time when I do the most important tasks scheduled for the day. And after two hours, I can start working on other ongoing tasks. This simple change revolutionized my productivity. I’ve noticed that I have moved forward in many of the projects that I was stuck on because I had no time to focus on them. You may ask - but what do others think about your new approach? Aren't they impatient because you don’t answer their e-mail immediately? No! In most cases it is more than enough to answer them after 9AM. If there is anything that is very urgent, I will find out about it in a way other than e-mail.
In a separate post I will write about how I choose what to work on during those two precious hours.