Is your email inbox other people’s to-do list?

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Many people use their email as a task list. Email comes in, they do what is requested or needed, and issue a reply. If the “ask” requires a simple reply, they do it, using the so-called “2-minute rule” (anything that can be done in 2 minutes or less should be done immediately).

But what if the email is informational and doesn’t need a reply? What do they do with the information so they can find it when they need it?

Where do they record what was requested or done? Where do they keep notes about the case or a list of what to do next? And what do they do with email that can’t be handled with a quick reply?

Clearly, email is not a good task manager or a good place to store notes. Use apps that are designed for those purposes.

Keeping a to-do list and notes separate from your email (and postal mail) allows you to record a transactional time-line you can review, along with your thoughts and ideas and a list of what to do next.

Keeping those functions separate also provides you with a buffer of time to consider the request or information, and your response or next action.

Keeping to-dos separate from email helps you to be proactive instead of reactive. You decide what’s best and most important to you at any given time and do that, not necessarily what was asked of you in the morning mail.

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