The Right Tool for the Job

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Have you ever tried using a shoe to drive a nail, or a house key to open a bottle of wine? Each will work in a pinch, but the results are messy, frustrating, and very slow going. Obviously you would only try these options if the right tool wasn’t handy. Unfortunately, it’s not so obvious when it comes to getting work done. Most of us use our email inbox as a to-do list manager and let the random appearance of new mail dictate our work flow.

We keep emails in our inbox as a reminder to go back and deal with something later, allowing dozens, hundreds—even thousands—of emails to accumulate. What’s worse is we regularly allow our daily schedule to be impacted by new emails as they arrive.

There are various systems available online for managing the flood and distraction of email. Try a few of them and choose what works best for you. (Contact us if you're interested in learning what systems we use.)

As a culture, we have grown to think of our inbox as an acceptable work environment. It isn’t. Your inbox should only be used for temporary storage. With the exception of those who work in customer support, you shouldn't spend hours every day in your inbox.

There will always be the occasional emergency item that you wish you had seen a little sooner. But it’s extremely rare that an hour or two will make any difference in the outcome.

When you use the wrong tools for the job, you're setting yourself up for added frustration and preventing yourself from delivering the level of work you're capable of.

 

Image Credit: Dylan Foley