You will have sensed by now that one of the key themes in this book is the goal of working more proactively and less reactively. This means reducing the urgency, which in part depends on reducing the attention we give to non-essential things coming in — that is, noise.
The high volumes of noise filling our inboxes, workspaces and heads make us more stressed and more likely to work reactively. You might feel that you cannot control what is external to you, but you can manage it to minimise its negative impact.
The volume of noise will creep up over time if you let it. Like weeds in a lawn, it needs constant attention. But if you are diligent and you pull a weed whenever you see one, it is not hard to keep up. The same goes for email noise. Whenever you spot it, do something about it. Investing a small amount of your time in weeding your inbox will save you a lot of time over the weeks, months and years.
Then go beyond the inbox and try to spot all of the other forms of noise that stop you concentrating on your important work.
As we receive ever greater amounts of email, the amount of noise we receive will also increase. This is not limited to spam or junk. It takes many forms — some externally driven, some internally driven.
One of my clients described his inbox management like this. He said he was pretty good at managing the absolutely critical stuff, like client emails, and he was also pretty ...