Getting control over your time and inbox

So, it’s been a while since I wrote, a lot of things happened. Often I started a blog post but didn’t post it. Here is one that I think it will be useful.

My inbox has been at zero in last probably 7 years, it is a habit that when I learned, I just kept it and I don’t really have to think about it much any more. I am surprised when I read tweets and posts about otherwise capable people, struggling with getting inbox to zero. And on top of that I never did that email bankrupcu thing that some people do when they erase emails for them. If you sent me, I read it, or not, but I sure don’t miss it accidentally (happened rarely, few times).

I will explain how to get there simply and easily, this is simple way to get more productive and efficient, feel better and communicate better.

So, how do you get your inbox there?
Very simply, take a deep breath and decide to do it. You don’t even have to do everything in the same day, if you really get a ton of emails, but decide.
Then create folder ‘past inbox’. Move all of your emails there, just select all and move. From that moment on, you will decide about every email that comes to you.
Next step is to start from the top of past inbox pile and decide about emails. You will do following things with it:
* respond to it (you can create folder action and move it there, I respond it right away)
* decide this is something you don’t need, VERY IMPORTANT, don’t just delete it, if it is a newsletter make sure you click and unsubscribe. From now on, any newsletter, mailing that you don’t really have time to read, can find info online etc, click on unsubscribe and then delete.
This way you will save yourself work in the future.
* any regular mailings that you receive but really don’t need your immediate attention, just filter into appropriate folder. Being wise there is of utmost importance.
I love getting sales info from NewEgg and like, however every sale newsletter from them goes to newsletters/sale folder. I can find them whenever I need them
* shopping notices go to shopping folder, account creating emails go to account folder, facebook updates go to facebook folder (which I rarely check).
* If you have server monitoring and think that you need to see those emails, it is fine, I would still filter them into folder but check it, however, for some finance related stuff, I just make filter that would mark it with appropriate label, but will leave them in my inbox. That way I can take a look and then just archive them.
* Delete a lot, most of information that is coming to your inbox can be easily found online, unsubscribe whenever you can.
* project based, client based emails, make filters for people you corespond to label them, then if you see something you want to respond later, you can just archive them and check them later. No need to do anything more then once that can be automated.

Now that I made my inbox clean, I don’t really check it that often, no need, rarely emails are that important. But when I do, there is never too much and it is easy to respond.

One more thing I noticed, if you don’t like something, if client is unreasonable or plain silly, put that email aside and respond in 30 mins.

Hope I made you productive, I already am.

Best,
Zeljko Dakic

How Paulo Coelho writes his books

In an email update from GoodReads.com site there was an interview with Paulo Coelho about his new book. One piece that I found very interesting is how he writes his books, which he does in 2-4 weeks.

In words of Paulo Coelho:

“When I finally feel I’m ready to embark on a new book, I always go through the following cycle that takes me from two weeks to a month. Before going to bed I have everything planned: I will wake up early and dedicate myself solely to the novel I’m writing. The only thing is, when I wake up I decide to browse through the net, then it’s time for my walk. When I come back I quickly check my mails and before I know it it’s already 2:30 p.m. and time to have lunch. After which I always take a sacrosanct nap. When I wake up at 5 p.m. I come back to my computer, check another set of emails, visit my blogs, read the news. Then it is already time for dinner—and at this point I’m feeling extremely guilty for not fulfilling my goal of the day. After dinner, I finally sit at my desk and decide to write. The first line takes a bit, but quickly I’m submerged in the tale and ideas take me to places that I never thought I would tread. My wife calls me to go to bed but I can’t, I need to finish the line, then the paragraph, then the page…It goes on like this until 2–3 a.m. When I finally decide to go to bed, I still have many ideas in my mind—that I carefully note down on a piece of paper. I know, though, that I’ll never use this—I’m simply emptying my mind. When I finally rest my head on my pillow I make the same oath—that the next day I’ll wake up early and that I’ll write the whole day long. But this is useless: The next day I wake up late and this cycle starts all over again. “

Wild About Work – 101 ways (curt rosengren)

Some 2-3 years ago, Occupational Adventure blog was place I enjoyed to visit, Curt was writing there often and it inspired me quite a bit at that time to start things which I am enjoying now. So, even though he doesn’t write this much anymore, at least not on his blog, whenever he does something new I try to follow and support.  So when he wrote to announce his new book, I figured, it will be worthwhile to check it out.

What made my whole experience interesting was that his book ‘101 Ways to Get Wild About Work’ is published to self-publishing service Lulu. I thought that books published this way get pricey, as they are printed individually when someone orders them, however you will see that book was modestly priced. So, as much as I was excited about this particular book, I was also looking at overall experience of ordering and book quality. Getting book part was same like it would be from Amazon for any other book, you could even say that I received this book a little sooner then I would from Amazon (for some reason it takes them forever to ship the books). I was curious about packaging and it is the same, if not better then Amazon, book was wrapped inside the box so that it wouldn’t move during transport. Quality of the print is very good for paperback edition and overall I am very pleased by Lulu service. If I ever write or set to write the book, they would be sure place to publish your book and not have to worry about quality.

Now,  the book itself. It is made of 101 small chapters that are page to two pages long which try to suggest ways to inspire you or suggest actions that you could take and improve your career, work, business. Since I am small business owner, I thought that I figured most of these things and thought that book will just repeat what I have read 1000 times. If it gets boring, I didn’t get to that part, I am at 8-th way and I already can say that this book was worthwhile purchase and read. For last few days I would read before sleep one or two chapters and think about ideas in them. While I use and apply some of those ideas, suggestions in the book, about journaling for example gave me additional ideas how to approach it. I usually write daily review, however I found it weird to write about my ideas. Somehow when I read about journaling it gave me a spark that enabled me to write to great length about my ideas, plans and what actions I am going to do, since I’ve been doing this for last 3-4 days I think it can be considered regular practice. Also I liked very much suggestion to make list of questions that are currently issues I have and try to write answers to them and doing that is already helping me deal with them.

I am enjoying reading this book and taking it slow. I would recommend it to anyone, specially to those who might think, like I did, that they might not need to read it.