STOP, DROP & ROLL -What you need to know about managing your inbox before you open your email
If you’re at all like me, from the moment you open your eyes in the morning, your mind starts filling up with what is expected of you for the day. These thoughts are probably a mix of personal and professional, of duties and opportunities, of tasks and errands. With every moment, your head starts to fill up with the “things” you need to do; who to call, what to set up, what to complete.
But ... here’s the thing. By the time you’re done dressing and commuting, by the time you have seated yourself at your desk and opened your inbox - that to-do list in your head has all but vanished. As soon as you open that inbox, that list dissolves into what’s immediately in front of you and the emails that demand your attention NOW. And by the time you shut down for the day and leave your desk, that list has rolled over, again, into tomorrow – a cycle that is likely to repeat itself.
This problem is more serious than you think because, when your head is not clear, you’re not creative, or strategic. All the things you are, need and probably want to be.
If so, you may find this useful. Let me share with you a simple morning routine that I practice to ensure that I am able to function at my best. No matter where I am in the world, or how much pressure I am under when I get to my desk, I always do these three things:
I STOP. I DROP. I ROLL
I don’t open my laptop. I don’t get on my phone. I sit quietly for a minute and close my eyes to think. I become aware of my thoughts. The creative and strategic thoughts, and mundane thoughts.
My keyboard rests on an A3 planner (but you can use any journal-related media you prefer). I take those ideas floating around in my head and I drop them onto my blank sheet. I jot it all down: the appointments, the social commitments, the projects that are due, the financial follow-ups that must be made, the orders and shopping lists for goods, birthdays and anniversaries, etc. Everything. Then I throw away the sheet of paper (the information is all in my Inbox, I don’t need notes).
And then ...
I ROLL ... straight into my day.
I begin by allocating time in my calendar for each task, either as a calendar event (preferable)or as a task (second prize). This is crucial because the moment I open myself up to the emails, WhatsApp and other communication that comes at me externally, I risk the self-directed strategic and creative thoughts and activities that are essential to me doing my best work.
If I’m not self-directed and productive, I find myself pulled in every direction other than the one I want to go in.
That’s it. Easy -STOP (THINK) DROP (YOUR THOUGHTS DOWN) ROLL (IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN)
Next week, we’ll talk about best practices for navigating your Outlook inbox: the most productive view settings, how you should be mapping your tasks and to-do lists for effective inbox management.
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