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Weed and read: Or, how I beat the email inbox blues

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I hate email—there, I said it.

As the preferred method of communication in the business world, however, I have learned to (grudgingly) accept it.

Gone are the days, though, when I’d wade into the email swamp only to become hopelessly lost for hours.

So how do I ensure the email beast doesn’t devour my entire morning?

I call it “weed and read.”

Twice a day, morning and afternoon, I log on to my email account. The morning logon is the weeding phase; I briefly survey my inbox, deleting any emails I have no intention of reading (ads). If I come across an email I have been awaiting—or if the subject seems especially urgent—I open it.

In the afternoon, when the real, revenue-producing work of the day is done, I logon again. I perform another brief weeding of new emails before settling in to read the ones saved from the morning.

In this way, reading email does not become a distraction or excuse for not working. And it doesn’t occupy me when I am at my most productive and engaged (after morning coffee).

Some people may say that in our frenetic, hyper-connected world, a day is too long to sit on an email.

My response to that is that if something is so important as to warrant immediate attention, there’s this cool retro invention, available online and in stores, called a telephone.

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