A WORKFLOW Action Plan For Skillfully Navigating and Effortlessly Processing the Anxiety-Producing Emails That Flood Your (Gmail) INBOX Every Hour.

An Overview of The Gmail Filtering System

A Gmail Filter allows you to automatically organize, archive (skip the inbox), delete, mark as spam and best of all, send incoming messages to a tailor-designed filing system (by use of LABELS).

Filters work by you defining a single or stacked search criteria.

All messages that match the search criteria are then filtered by the search’s action(s).

I wanted to know beforehand, that wandering into email wasn’t going to send me down a rabbit hole or zap my energy after being triggered by some unprofessional comment, posture or inconsiderate languaging.

Too many times, I’ve opened a message and found myself still typing the REPLY an hour later.

Or the less dramatic, looking at unread emails and then marking them as UNREAD because I’m not ready to process and complete them.

WARNING

This email filtering system can change your life and do wonders for your mental health.

But only if you’ll do The SETUP. I liken this to cleaning your garage.

You already have the skills to do this. You just need the desire (and the instructions in this post).

I’ve invested the 7 days to simplify much of what’s required. The END was the hardest.

I had to enter the Search Criteria and DELETE the Old Messages (5,000+).

Took about 3 hours (of deciding what to filter, file and trash).

Now my INBOX is a safe place for my mind to wander into.

Instead of trying to hide or delete what I do not want to see, I’ve engineered an email filtering system which shows me the content I want to see FIRST (because the intelligence built into the filter implies that the message contains actionable content that I can use to make a NEXT Action decision quickly).

Shall we do the same for Gmail INBOX?

Leading The Way

This email filtering system builds on the success of The To Do List (40-10-10) Method.

It works under the premise of maximizing the 60-minute time block.

  • 40 minutes of full engagement on a single task or a group of related tasks
  • 10 minutes of processing and completing email or capturing voice mails
  • 10 minutes of refreshing activity (before the next 40-minute full engagement)

Pointers For Perspective

With the Email Filtering System, you can actually make a bigger impact (through email-based work requests) without imposing a heavier demand on your mental and physical resources.

In fact, once you have the system in place, it may become the preferred CAPTURE Tool that you recommend to your customers, clients and colleagues.

It is a place you TRUST (because you’ve built it to flow with you).

Plus, the Email Filtering System respects you, your expertise and your well-being.

The Small Shift Required Is What To Display 1st

The typical email filtering system is designed to process the email you don’t want to see.

The INBOX Mind Flow system is about processing the email you want to see first and filing it immediately (in the appropriate folder \ label).

What remains, is a few emails in the primary INBOX.

As you continue to improve your email filtering system, you’ll see less and less email in your primary INBOX.

  • Instead, you will define 5 INBOXES (using the Gmail Multiple Inboxes Display Type).
  • These 5 will CAPTURE 80% of the content that requires your expertise to RESOLVE.
  • And, you will only see UNREAD Messages in these Top 5 INBOXES.

Keys To Making Your Email Workflow… WORK Better and FLOW Faster

Here are a few things to consider about email…

  • Email is The Norm and is Unavoidable (especially in business)
  • Email Can Be Sent Whenever You’re Ready To Send it (And Even Has A Scheduling SEND Function)
  • Email Can Be Personalized for Relevance, Immediate Benefit and Social Currency
  • Email Offers A Direct Connection and Communication Channel To A Single Person or Group

Source: The Rebooting | The Advantages of Email

You have each of these options and so does everyone else. The problem is, not everyone communicates for connection and mutual benefit.

Dana Brownlee (a Corporate Trainer) even suggests that certain circumstances require something other than email.

  • Avoid Email When the Message / Information is Complicated
  • Avoid Email When the Message is Time Sensitive
  • Avoid Email When the Message is Sensitive or Emotional in Nature

It all boils down to reliable, relationship-building practices.

The relationship-building elements in your email filtering system should teach those who you connect with regularly, how to best communicate with you.

The goal is to give them the experience they desire, in exchange for the experience you desire (which in most cases is a reply which reads problem resolved or task complete).

It’s not difficult to get buy-in. You simply have to express that you’ll respond faster and get to a solution sooner when they provide you the problem-processing criteria needed during their initial contact.

By using this method when you send messages, you’ll reinforce credibility and equip yourself with “best email practices” insight and skills.

For repetitive tasks that require 3 or more kinds of problem-processing criteria, you might use a Google Form.

This tool not only allows you to incorporate drop-down lists, multiple recipients, check boxes, short answer, multiple choice and date\time info, but also captures the responses in Google Sheets.

Here are a few resources you can explore for Google Forms basic and advanced use.

One of the things I ask my clients to do is start a new email whenever they want me to assist with a new problem.

No piggy-backing active emails or past emails.

I simply tell them I will not read through the multiple replies to figure out “the new thing” they want. Instead, they’ll receive a phone call or an office visit during my ROUNDING Task Block to clarify their ask.

All of this equals DELAY, which affects their ability to complete tasks pending more information (from me).

Since the subject line of the email usually clarifies the problem they want me to solve, the new email helps tremendously when I’m processing the INBOX for the Next Task to complete.

I almost never get any resistance and my clients get the fulfilled promise of quick turnaround (for tasks that are simple and single action). At minimum, the receive a status email to let them know the work towards the right solution is underway.

Your MAP TO THE GOAL MINE…

  • A List Of The Key Points Covered [About Creating A System That Works For You] To Provide An Overview Of Where We’re Headed.
  • A video that unpacks Winning At The Game of Work and the business of Life.
  • A Method For Getting Results Fast: 3 Things You Can [STOP \ START \ EXPLORE] Right Away.
  • Access To A Simple 7-Day Action Plan Which Streamlines and Sequences The Key Points For Improved Workflow Process Efficiency.

Open Flow and Eliminate Drag In Your System

  • A) Capture
  • B) Clarify
  • C) Organize
  • D) Reflect
  • E) Engage

Time Is Not The Issue

  • A) What You Do With Yourself During A Time Block is The Issue
  • B) What Would You Do With More Time?
  • C) Working Harder Is Also Not The Answer… But The Art of Work

Get Every Commitment (or Potential Commitment) Outside Your Head

  • A) Create Trusted “External” Buckets
  • B) Make Effective Executive Decisions
  • C) Commit To A Successful Outcome

Control and Perspective Must Work Together

  • A) Keep No Commitment Inside Your Head
  • B) The Reason Why Stuff Is Still On Your Mind
  • C) The Relationship Between “On Your Mind” and “Getting Things Done”
  • D) Control and Perspective Are The Two Aspects Of Self Management
  • E) The 5 Stages of GTD Help You Gain Control
  • F) The 6 Horizons of Focus Help You Increase Perspective

Download GTD Workflow Advanced Infographic (Login Required)

YouTube video

Purpose

  • A) What the best way to plan?
  • B) The master planner is your brain.
  • C) Move from Impulse to Reality by defining Purpose

Vision

  • A) Get more and better ideas when you write things down
  • B) What would mean success for me for the thing you’ve picked?
  • C) Imagination activates your ability to define Vision

Ideas

  • A) Imagined vs Reality creates tension and tension prompts the brain to show you ideas through Brainstorming.
  • B) What’s the very NEXT Thing you must do?
  • C) Create a container to make ideas actionable

Structure

  • A) Most people don’t trust that they know how to plan
  • B) There is a universal Fear out being out of control
  • C) Without structure, most ideas will fall flat

Next Action

  • A) Purpose defines your target
  • B) Vision helps you see your way to it
  • C) Ideas help you navigate the obstacles
  • D) Structure helps you establish consistency

YouTube video

Collaborate. integrate. transform.

How Can I Skillfully Navigate and Effortlessly Process the Anxiety-Producing Emails That Flood My (Gmail) INBOX Every Hour?

STOP Doing This

STOP Managing Chaos. STOP Navigating Chaos. STOP letting your Gmail INBOX and its default settings, dictate what you see and how you experience email-based communication. There’s a better way.

START Doing This

START processing what matters now. Implement the Email Filtering System outlined in the post to GET MORE of the right things done Faster, Better and In Support of quality mental health. You deserve it!

EXPLORE This

Consult the Getting Things Done website and Making It All Work (Amazon Link). Also get the To Do List (40-10-10) Method to help you maximize each hour of your workday.

7-Day Workflow Action Sequence

Your Role = Welcomed Guest

The Action Sequence is facilitated using our Bridging the WORKFLOW Gap System. This employs a Think-On-Paper technique to help you create Workflow Process Efficiency in 7 days or less.

We’ve discovered that how you start greatly effects how you’ll finish. Therefore, we start our Workflow Process Efficiency Projects on Saturday because it provides a larger block of time to establish the foundational elements.

Once you’re back in the work environment on Monday, you’ll have a vision and plan for the PROTOTYPE you’ll deliver on Friday.

Day 1 (Sat): CONTEND Phase

  • Recognize the Possibility Using A How Can I (HCI) Statement
  • Recognize the Personal Benefit and How Achieving the HCI Will Give You More (of What You Want)
  • Recognize the Accountability and Focus Given Once You’ve Committed To An Achieve By Date
  • Exclude Visible Obstacles So That You Can Include and Implement Clear Advantages
  • Exclude Hidden Dangers So That You Can Include and Implement Practices That Protect Your Reputation
  • Mastermind A Better Way By Taking A Closer Look At Your Existing Workflow Process

3 Ways To Unlock The Action Sequence

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  1. refining your Skills
  2. sharpening your Focus
  3. attracting worthwhile Collaborators and
  4. creating Structure which doesn't fall apart under pressure.

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Workflow Process Efficiency in 7 Days or Less

Algernon “Al” Tucker

Coach AT (Ay-Tee)

Business / Systems Strategist