So the whole GTD thing (Getting Things Done, if you didn't know)...I have tried it at various times with varying degrees of success. Last year, I read David Allen's hugely popular book and set up a paper system. That worked...sort of...for a little while. Then I kept forgetting my little tickler files everywhere, and hey, I'm a digital girl at heart, so I abandoned it. What followed what one of the most chaotic times in my life, both personally and professionally.
December took the cake. I was stretched to the very limit, and what I got done was only because there was a fire and I was the extinguisher. No time for extra planning and tracking. When I did that, other things would fail. I was exhausted. I entertained fantasies of quitting my job and becoming a yoga instructor. I was short with the kids. I did not enjoy my "off time" because what I had to do (or MIGHT have to do, buried in the depths of my follow up emails) was always lurking in the back of my head.
Enter Inbox Zero.
I had known about this great blog called 43 folders (named for the ticker file idea of a folder for each of the 31 days in a month, plus 12 more folders for the months in the year). Had not spent much time on it, but had good intentions. One evening, not sure why, I decided to watch a Google Tech Talk given by 43 Folder's author, Merlin Mann. Only an hour long. Wow, it has changed my life.
I won't get into the specifics of the Inbox Zero strategy, but I will tell you about the results.
I just spent a week in all-day meetings where computers were highly discouraged. Wanna know how many emails are in my inbox? Zilch. In my previous life, I would have probably had 300 emails flagged for follow up after a week in meetings. Keeping my inbox empty has been my goal for the past 7 days. I have gottten good at this: Delete, Delegate, Respond, Defer, Do. It's become my mantra.
The biggest plus? My stress level has taken a HUGE hit. I don't feel like I'm a slave to my inbox anymore. It's not hanging over my head. Truthfully, it's not. I have enjoyed my children more this weekend. I have given attention to my husband. I have planned some social events and activities just for me. Hey, I think I'm actually getting MORE done, but it feels a whole lot easier.
What are you doing right now? Just surfing the web? Go watch Inbox Zero. It's an hour. Go watch it right now. You will thank me.