As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m developing a new presentation on time management for translators. I presented the “beta” version at the Colorado Translators Association‘s recent mid-year conference and I think it went well; big thanks to everyone who responded to my time management survey which provided an excellent starting point for the presentation!
Time management is such a huge and subjective topic that I’m not sure I can write just one blog post about it. So I thought I would break the idea down into specific tips that might be easier to digest. Here’s one: take back control of your e-mail by mercilessly unsubscribing and filtering, so that you (try to) limit your inbox to messages that you need to read as soon as you receive them.
All of us receive countless notification e-mails every day: someone added you as a LinkedIn contact; someone mentioned you on Twitter; Groupon has a great offer for you; someone in your neighborhood needs a dog sitter. You may not want to stop receiving these e-mails entirely, but you need to stop them from interrupting your actual work. So, do this: the next time you read an e-mail and delete it without taking any further action, make a change. If you’re no longer interested in receiving that type of e-mail at all, unsubscribe. If you want to keep receiving it but you don’t need to read it right away, create a filter. I use the Gmail interface to read my domain name e-mail, and I make heavy use of the “Bypass the inbox” filtering feature. So let’s say that I signed up for an e-newsletter from a potential client because I want to learn more about their business. The first time I receive an e-mail from them:
-I click on the dropdown arrow on the right side of the message window, next to the Reply arrow
-Then I select “Filter messages like this”
-I enter the aspect that I want to filter on (sender, subject line, etc.), then click “Create filter with this search”
-Then I select or create a folder for those e-mails to go to; for example “Marketing research”
-Then, most importantly, I tick the “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)” box. The message will still be marked as unread, but it will go automatically to the designated folder. For example I currently have 497 unread messages from my neighborhood e-mail list in the folder I created for them. Basically that’s 497 messages that didn’t end up in my Inbox, and that I can read when/if I want to.
I’m sure that other e-mail applications have similar features; whatever program you use, make sure that you learn how to use filters so that you can focus on time-sensitive messages in your Inbox.