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Coming Back

After the LOG out and UNPLUG issue of A Chip off the Block – I received some feedback – next, you need to provide a solution for all the emails in the inbox upon returning.

Ask and you shall receive.

Step 1: Do not schedule anything for the morning you return from vacation (YES I do mean the entire morning). In fact, when you schedule your vacation – block it off on your calendar so no one schedules you!

This will give you time to do the rest of the steps!

Step 2: Your goal is to think of your inbox as a multiple-choice test, here are your choices:

  • Delete immediately
  • Figure out the thread
  • Informational – read later
  • This afternoon’s priorities
  • Can wait until tomorrow
  • Can wait until after that

Step 3: Delete – Quickly scan and delete immediately anything you can safely. KEY TIP = don’t be distracted by emails you have to read to decide, this is your regular morning scan with the intent to delete any crap you can.

Step 4: Identify Threads – If you’re like me and there is A LOT in your inbox even after the delete step when you’re back, my recommendation is to create a few folders to sort things into.
I’ll even go as far as to tell you using * at the beginning of your folder name will put it at the top of your folders list.

Notice, this is purposely done POST delete! You’ve entered sort mode…

REMEMBER you’re not trying to figure out the threads YET – you’re in sort mode; any emails that go together as a topic thread get dumped into their own folder(s). Each thread gets its own folder.

You’re not to read the emails OR try to begin prioritization YET.

While you’re looking for threads you’ll probably be able to dump some informational but not action required emails into your “Read Later” folder.

Step 5: Read the WHOLE Thread – Notice you’ve still not taken action – and be honest with yourself, you’re probably hyperventilating a little even thinking about not DOING.

One thing about email threads is that until you’ve read the entire thing, you DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! You may not have to do anything, it might be done already – or the action you THINK may not be the best choice based on what goes on further in the thread.

SAFETY TIP: You actually need to look at each email in chronological order because you may find someone skipping the reply string themselves.

That’s why I put them in a folder and then click the date column to get them into chronological order. Reading them all from oldest to newest and waiting until I’m done reading everything before I decide what I need to do.


Step 6: Prioritize – Now that you have an idea of what is going on, prioritize. You can’t get to everything today, instead what is the #1 thing that needs to be done?

After you figure out the #1 priority, rank the rest – it’s especially important to PUSH out things that you know can wait until tomorrow or beyond.

Now is the time to make sure you take care of your #1 priority.

Don’t Be Distracted!!!!

Yes, I know things will continue to come in and at you. Some can be thrown immediately into those thread folders as they are about something you’ve already categorized.

The rest needs to be slotted in between the priorities you’ve now set for yourself.

Your goal by the end of your first day is to have your top priority taken care of, maybe some other things done as well (time permitting), and a plan for everything else.

Let go of the idea you can do all the work you missed PLUS anything that comes in that day… in that first day back.

Trying to help you relax,

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