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  • Writer's pictureMarie

The 2-step e-mail trick that will change your Occupational Therapy life

Updated: May 23, 2020

You don’t take your physical mail out of your mailbox and stuff the papers back in. Within a few days it would be so full and eventually. you would need to allocate additional time to re-sort it all. Oddly enough, most people treat their email boxes like this. We get e-mail, and let it pile up until it’s completely overwhelming. Next thing you know, we have 10,000 emails staring us in the face daily. Here’s the new plan:

  1.  Create a new folder in your email account and label it, “Old Email”.

  2.  Take the 10,000 emails you have in your inbox and move them into your newly created folder.

This will do two things: your old email will remain searchable when you move it and the new folder holds onto that mail instead of risking tossing out something important. From now on, think of all the email, notes, papers, books and post- its that come into your life, lets call these INPUTS. All inputs need to be PROCESSED when they come to you. These “4 D’s” can help you process all the inputs in your life:

  1. Delete:- This is the equivalent of standing at your mailbox at home and tossing out the stuff that doesn’t apply to you.

  2. Delegate:- If you pick up a piece of mail and you decide that someone else can manage the task that is needed to get rid of that mail better than you can, drop it off to them.

  3. Do:- If the input you pick up is something you can do in a few minutes so that the task is complete, DO IT! Get it out of the way!

  4. Defer:- If you get stuck on “Do” or the doing would take too long – stick it on your calendar for later.

REDUCE your inputs!! My final e-mail tip is to be pro-active now that your inbox is empty. – Address the new emails that come into your freshly cleaned box. – Don’t be the point of contact if someone else should be. – Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe!!! Within just a few weeks the number of emails you receive daily will be drastically reduced. – Create an email address strictly for business and personal.

Some advice – Sometimes we as OTs are juggling a million different things. “What about Margaret’s shower chair?, I need to ask Susie’s family about her sleeping habits., I need to fill out my productivity chart., etc.” As these little tasks build up, in the back of your head they snowball and become overwhelming and affect YOUR quality of life! Only put the non-negotiable tasks on your calendar. Non-negotiable type items would include meetings, calls, and events. The negotiable stuff is stuff that needs to be done, but doesn’t have such a rigid time limit. This is your basic “To Do” list.

The problem with putting a to-do list on your calendar is that if you don’t accomplish that task, you’ll be stuck constantly moving these tasks forward and less time actually completing tasks. For these items, just make yourself a separate to-do list. When you get some spare time, aim towards shortening that list. Which of these tips are you going to use today to reduce and organize your inputs? Leave your comments below!

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