I used to care, more, about getting to Inbox Zero – about processing every last email.

I find I am caring about that less, now, and suggest the same for you. I have a large whiteboard in my office that tracks the things I need to do this week (a la Scrum), and this year I am toying with a new experimental system: defining 10 one-month projects, 50 one-week projects, and ~100 one-day projects – e.g. allocating chunks of time in what I estimate to be the most profitable manner. 

What I’m trying to do: let rational priorities (the “forest,” mapped out) guide what I spend my time on, rather than allowing my inbox (e.g. other random people) to guide my priorities. 

Of course, I do still pay attention to my email, and my social media feed – these are data points for potential opportunities. But opportunities are best discovered by intentional exploration of particular spaces: I scan my inbox & social media feed for specific things, not for everything. Figuring out how to assign months, weeks and days is a matter of asking “what needs to be accomplished this year to make progress toward my overall goal?” Try beginning with that end in mind, and email becomes a lot less pressing.

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