How to Keep Email from Rearranging Your To-Do List
Although email has been used to communicate quickly with those inside and outside of one’s organization, it fails to be one of the most efficient ways of collaborating. Think about your busiest days or weeks and the laundry list of email requests, replies, updates, etc. that can hold your inbox hostage. Although you may start the morning off with a well-defined list of to-dos (whether it’s from a to-do list app or on paper), this email chaos can quickly turn your day upside down. Not only can this take up a valuable chunk of your time, it can also mean constantly rearranging your list and changing priorities in a negative way.
The good news? This inbox pandemonium can be kept at bay, especially by following a few guidelines:
Ask the Most Important Questions
Take a careful look at your to-do list and ask yourself: “What are my true priorities? What here will move the needle for me and help my company to reach its business goals?” This is the first step to ensuring the tasks you work on first are the most important. Remember, the goal is to focus on the 20% of tasks that yield 80% of your results. By arranging your to-dos in order of significance, you’ll be able to narrow in on these specific imperatives.
Use an App
Technology can be one of the most helpful tools when it comes to completing your work tasks. Especially when it comes to your daily and weekly items, a to-do list app can be a great way of documenting and tracking your priorities. Not only should this be on a cloud-based platform, it should also give you the ability to set deadlines, collaborate with others involved, and give you the ability to transparently share your list with other people, departments and partners.
In business, it’s not rare for tasks to be a small part of a much bigger project and as such, to involve other colleagues. Ensure that you’re staying in close contact with them and are on the same page when it comes to deadlines, the latest versions of items, individual responsibilities, etc. Each stakeholder should have the resources and context they need, available in an organized way. When this occurs, teamwork is promoted and interactions are on their way to being maximized, saving time and increasing productivity.
Revise Due Dates
Deadlines are incredibly important when it comes to accomplishing individual and group projects. However, due dates can often change, especially when checking items off your list have outside dependencies. To-do list apps can be especially helpful when it comes to this, allowing you to quickly and easily adjust due dates in a way that is visible to the rest of your team. However, ensure that your deadlines are up-to-date, communicated correctly and that everyone involved understands the repercussions of any changes.
Speak with your boss, colleagues and any other stakeholders to ensure expectations are set and that they understand what you can deliver by when. Not only does this help to set accountability for yourself, it can also help to set a cadence for you and your team. Find a to-do list app that allows you to communicate this information easily, keeping everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals.
Email can be a big business addiction. However, with multiple replies, additional requests and lengthy information, your inbox can actually detract value and even take away from your ability to reach your most important imperatives. By diligently documenting and collaborating on your list of to-dos, you’ll be able to reach your goals and stay organized in the process.