It is a common question I receive as a business coach; ”How do I handle my overflowing e-mail?”
I am NOT going to give you an IT solution. I am NOT going to provide handy dandy tips on how to cope. I am NOT going to tell you how I personally deal with the issue. In short, I am not going to tell you HOW to handle the presenting problem.
Instead, I am going to give you a root cause for e-mail problems. If you will relax and consider this proposal, it will put you on the road to not only conquering e-mail overwhelm, but life and business overwhelm as well.
The root issue (the hidden problem beneath the problem) is fear and people pleasing. You are afraid you will miss an important message. You worry that you will offend someone by not replying. You are stressed that you will lose an opportunity because you missed a request. You feel like you are failing because you are out of control and never caught up. The human mind despises unfinished business and open loops. And my friend, all of this is in your head, not in your inbox. E-mail overload is not your real problem. Junk e-mail, dinging phones, uninvited telemarketing calls, requests for your help, interrupting friends, family, and employees, face book, twitter, blogs…..all of these voices that call out and demand your attention and time……..are NOT the problem. It is your story and beliefs about these voices that is the problem.
What if I broke into your network and deleted all of your e-mail? What affect would that have on your business and life? Would you be devastated? Would your customers leave you in droves? Would friends and family forsake you? Would you become a social outcast? This all sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? Get real. Are you actually going to review those 5,238 messages rotting in your inbox?
The transforming question is this……Why do you allow your life to be run by outside voices? Why are other people setting your priorities? Why do you choose to be depressed, stressed, upset, and feel like an out-of-control failure? Stop it!!! Rewrite the story. Base your new story on what is REALLY important to you and rid yourself of everything that interferes with those priorities.
If you will deal with the root issues of unclear priorities, unreasonable fears and people pleasing, then you can easily find the systems and solutions to deal with all the stuff.