Help with managing Read / Review
I am a product manager in high tech and receive several industry related emails daily and throughout the week. What tends to happen during my email processing is that I go off on a tangent when reading these updates and end up on an industry / market research task and violate the 2 min rule. When I simply put them into Read/Review I never read them. Looking to get some feedback / advice on how others handle this.
Here are my suggestions:
First, set up filters to send those emails to a dedicated folder and process them once a day, every day, after the rest of your email. If you don't have time one day, forgive yourself and delete the backlog.
Don't feel you have to read whole articles. I have noticed that news stories tend to sum up the story in the first paragraph, expand with some sketchy and incomplete details in the bulk of the article, and finish with another summary. I can stay current enough with the news by skimming the headlines and reading the first two sentences of any article that catches my eye. The articles I do read are the ones I find most interesting or funny.
Finally, learn to speed read if you don't already. I went to a single day course and it has been the best day training I have been on, possibly ever, but certainly in the last couple of years.
Here's how I handle something similar to this. We get an email communication every morning updating hot topics. The email usually contains a half dozen links to other articles. Some pertain to me and what my role is and some do not. I can usually read the main email and see what the other links are under the two minute rule. So I read and click and if there is anything that I need to revisit or further investigate I dictate or write a task into one of my my collection devices. I always process my collection devices at the end of the day. It is then I would clarify next actions and code into context. I am confident I am not losing anything important this way.
Hope this helps.
I have an "action" email folder, and in another of my systems I have a reminder to look at it regularly.
Sometimes I set a timer before starting to read my email. Maybe by doing this
occasionally, I train myself in general not to get too distracted by the emails, so
I don't usually need to set the timer.
When you see one of those type of email, you could set a timer for 2 minutes
just before you begin to read the email, and try to move the email into an
"action" folder and/or write a note to yourself to do something with it, before
the 2 minutes is over.
The point is to somehow give yourself a chance to step back and think
"What am I doing right now? Is this worth my time? Is this the right
time to be doing this?" -- or to use a system that kindof handles
these questions implicitly.
I treat this like I treat other contexts - when the context piling up, I make time for it in my calendar. And if it's some that happens regularly like @read/review, I make sure there's some space in my week for it. So for me, @read/review stacks and lists happens on the weekend. I try to spend an evening reading through my stack and list.
I also have taken a speed reading course and it's great. So I find that my scanning news and periodicals in the mornings usually doesn't take too long. Then whatever I want to delve into goes into my read/review list or stack.
So my suggestion is to try not to use your processing time to do your reading - if it's something that will take more than 2 minutes do move it to a read/review bucket (folder, stack, list, etc.). Instead, make time during your week to get to the reading. And find a way to make your reading time attractive - maybe make a cup of coffee to get you into the mood to read, have a specific reading chair, whatever you need. And just start with 5 minutes or 10 minutes and increase from there. Setting 2 minutes per item was a sure fire way to absorb maximum 10% of what I was reading!
Read and Review
Originally Posted by new2gtd
I can completely relate to your plight, I think a lot of members can. One suggestion I can make from personal experience is to not be afraid of the delete button. Take the two minute rule to review whether the article is relevant to your work and things that you personally need to be aware of for your Area of Focus. If it's something that is interesting, but not relevant, perhaps take a step back and see if you are getting caught in the digital trap of having to be on top of 'everything.' Our minds can only retain so much information, so we should be prudent about what we spend our time reviewing.
If it is something that you really would like to get to, maybe block time in your calendar specifically to catch up on industry related emails. Treat it like a half hour meeting (or longer if you need). This will cut down the reactivity of needing to respond to the 'latest and loudest,' and feeling drawn to get it read so that it is done and you aren't facing a folder full of reading. Just be picky about the things you would like to put aside and then use that time to look them over. This will reduce the interruption time in your day and allow you to focus. For me personally, I am repelled by having a folder full of reading that I have to 'get back to at some point,' so taking a concentrated chunk of the day to do this really helps me out.
Hope that helps!
Wow! Thanks everyone! This is really good advice. I definitely get caught in the trap of having to be on top of everything. I think one of the key takeaways here is to be able to let go and just delete.
Tags for this Thread