February 2016
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot. ~~ Michael Altshuler

How did it get so late so soon? ~~ Dr. Seuss

Lost time is never found again. ~~ Benjamin Franklin


Message from Rita


Every once in a while -- because of holidays, company, deadlines, a family illness, or something else – I’ll sit at my computer and see way too many emails. So over the years, I’ve come up with a few “clutter-busting rules” to help make emails manageable.

Some people face being swamped by too much email constantly. Most of us experience email overwhelm at least once in a while.

Emails are considered to be a quick and efficient way of communicating which theoretically saves time. Isn’t it ironic that instead this “time-saver” often sabotages our time management and productivity?

Yet most of us cannot entirely stop emailing and we can’t stop others from sending too frivolous, too unwanted, too wordy or simply too many emails.

Here are a few tips that have helped me when emails are pouring in faster than I can deal with them.

  1.  Keep to “Check-in times”
    Decide how often and when you will check your emails. Turn off email notifications for your computer and smartphone. I have a high regard for momentum…those times where work is flowing along.

    Pausing to check emails as they appear destroys that momentum. Then you have to try to gear up to get back to where you were.

    Instead of letting those notification beeps interrupt your work flow, decide to check them as often as you need to. For some of us it’s just twice a day, for others it might be once an hour. But instead of letting emails control your time and momentum, YOU get to take control and check them when YOU want to.
  2.  Set Time Limits
    This has made a huge difference for me. Before setting time limits, I would read every word and reply to every message to the point of when someone thanked me, I’d email “You’re welcome.” Did they really need that email? Or would their lives have been better off just thanking me and ending the email exchange?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that – for many of us -- working with emails creates a Time Warp. In the past, I’d think I’m spending a few minutes on my emails, but look up to discover that I’ve been emailing for over an hour. Having Time Limits got me out of that Time Warp. (Twitter Time Warps are a whole other story for another day.)

    Start off setting a half hour for emails. You might find that the length of your messages and choice of which messages to reply to will significantly diminish. You might need more than a half hour so simply work with it till you figure out how much time you really need.

    A time limit will help you be more conscious and more decisive about the time you spend on each email.
  3. Think in Terms of Decision Categories
    To me, most emails fall into one of four groups: delete, file, reply, or follow-up. To help make the first two tips work --- within your time limit, quickly zip through emails to be deleted or filed. Next, reply to messages needing only a few minutes of your time.

    Then all that’s left are follow-up emails that require more time or attention. You can tackle those later when you can concentrate on them. Be sure to designate a specific time to address that last follow-up category. Otherwise you might procrastinate with them … and I don’t want you blaming it on me.
  4. Unsubscribe From the Unnecessary
    Recognize how much time is wasted scrolling through all those messages you never read such as junk emails, newsletters and those frequent “follow-ups” after a purchase or participation in a program. Why are you doing this? Unsubscribe to anything that wastes your time.
  5. Use Automation When Possible
    If you can make it work, set up automatic systems for deleting messages, filing, creating autoresponders plus out of office messages, and anything else that can be automated. You may need to try out a few different types to figure out what’s best for you.
    It’s possible not all of these tips would work for you, but select at least one. Ponder it. Try it. Tweak it. It’s worth the effort to gain control of your emails instead of letting them control you and your valuable time.

Chicago area ---Want to meet Rita in person?
As you know, Rita’s main topics are Procrastination, Clutter and Stress. But The Celtic Women’s Group has asked her to present a new and unusual one (for her) about her trip to Ireland last year. They are calling it:
Three Weeks Touring Ireland with Four Teenagers while retaining your sanity

Tues., Feb 16 at 7:30
Room 304
$5.00 donation at the door (but they’re not strict about it. That is SO Irish.)

Irish American Heritage Center
4626 North Knox Ave
Chicago, IL


Want to join our telephone class on making this a better world through Random Acts of Kindness?
We will explore thoughts based on Mother Teresa’s quote: "Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you".

Join us Friday, Feb. 12 at 1:00 Central time for
Loving Gestures That Aren’t Romantic But are Lots of Fun
It’s free. Register at 888-600-2560 or teltopics@matherlifeways.com

Go to www.facebook.com/ritaemmett.author

Please share this Tip Sheet with 2 or 3 friends who would be interested. And feel free to use this message in your blog or newsletter, as long as you include my bio and contact info:

Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook and
Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed
2331 Eastview
Des Plaines, IL 60018

No trees were destroyed in the sending of this message,
but a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.