“I might as well save it… jut in case… I might need it someday.” Physical clutter is the most common reason people look for productivity solutions but how about electronic clutter? Electronic clutter is just as prevalent, however it is much harder to see and easier to ignore. When is the last time you cleaned out your email? Do you frequently exceed your email storage? Do you feel anxious about deleting something? How much time do you spend searching for a file? Do you have out dated photos and emails on your computer?
Just like with your physical files, you need to decide what system you will use for electronic folders and subfolders. Think about the system you are currently using. Is it working? Are you able to find the things you need when you need them? If you answered no to these questions, a good starting point is to mirror the filing system you are using for physical papers. Keep it simple, and it will be easier to remember and to delegate.
Once you find a system that works for you it is important to not let technology dictate your life. With today’s ever connected world, we are able to access our emails from multiple different sources. Employees on average are spending 20 hours per week handling email. Thirty percent of emails are unnecessary. Top executives reported receiving up to 300 messages per day. These statistics show how important it is to have a good email management system. Start by designating specific times a day to check your email.
How many times per day do you check your emails? For the next week, I challenge you to designate 4 times during the day (try first thing in the morning, before lunch, mid-afternoon and before you leave the office) to check your email. How does it feel? Are you able to get more “real work” done?