The never-ending flow of emails: source of stress!


Getting Things Done, an organizational system to work calmly while being efficient, excluding stressors, forgetting and feelings of urgency. The brain is not designed to respond to the multiple demands of the digital world overloaded with instantaneous information.


What about your organization and especially your mailbox? Who hasn’t dreamed of having a constantly empty Inbox, but above all, one that is pragmatic and intelligently organized?


Every day, we receive about a hundred different requests and information. Today, the main source and source of these hundreds of requests remains the Mailbox. You spend 611 hours a year on email management, i. e. almost 30% of your working time… Practically 1/3 of your day.


What about you? Today, how long does it take you to manage your mailbox: 1h, 2h, 3h? Take the time to calculate and analyze your behavior in front of your mailbox. 65% of the users surveyed say they check their e-mail every hour, but in reality they do so much more often, sometimes every five minutes. Moreover, this phenomenon has clearly increased with the arrival of Smartphones.


For some people, this constant flow of e-mails is a source of stress and anxiety. It is true that this continuous flow of e-mails can create an atmosphere and climate of urgency and contribute to a feeling of “immediate response”. Indeed, what happens to you when your un-pressed laundry stacks up or simply your paper mail? Are you calm and level in your mind? And yet we all know that all your emails are not urgent and do not always require an immediate response…


It is in this sense that the GTD method can be of great help to you, freeing up your mind, thanks to a new external memory and allowing you to concentrate on what really matters in terms of priority each day.


How does it work in practice?

The GTD method applied to the email inbox includes two main steps:


1- Collect, sort daily the multiple information coming from the emails: and yes, every day you receive almost a hundred emails.


2- Transform or process the information received by email: let’s assume that a mail requires or not an action. If the email requires an action, this email will be classified according to the priority of the action implied by the email. Each email will be treated differently if it involves a single task or the implementation of a simple or complex project with several people, several deadlines and several actions. Unfortunately, the hundreds of daily emails do not organize themselves and filter rules cannot distinguish the priority aspect of the information contained in the emails. And yes, despite the virtues of collaborative tools, a human mind is always necessary to handle these tools.

In short, here is a proposal to industrialize the sorting, storage and filing of your Inbox:

Urgent action: You have just received an urgent email requiring an answer within the hour, the day. File the mail in the URGENT folder. But if the email requires an immediate response, please reply immediately.

Action TO DO / to plan: you have just received an imposing email to organize a meeting with several of your investors and you must present them your overall strategy for 2014. File this email in the TO DO / folder and transform it into tasks (using a To do List) or project to plan (using your calendar and/or collaborative project management software)

Action LIRE: you have just received 2 newsletters from a webzine in your sector of activity. These emails just require a reading for information, without any urgent or immediate action or to plan, to file in the FOR INFO folder… You can read these emails quietly at night, or when you have more free time! Zero inbox?! Possible with GTD method!

Your inbox is EMPTY and above all organized! What a joy, you can finally enjoy your day and focus on the essential: the development of your business in complete peace of mind.