Monday, June 25, 2007

Avoiding Email Bankruptcy

Coming into this year, I realized that the activity level of work just continues to increase. I think there were times at Vivendi when I was possibly busier, but it had a natural ebb and flow that is different than in a startup. In a startup you have the ebb and flow but everything is on a continued upward trajectory.

I spent some time with the Getting Things Done materials and through most of this year kept telling myself that I would get rigid about how I process things. My natural state is to keep a lot of details in my head and switch back and forth very quickly. A lot of that ability was honed in my early 20s when I was a dispatcher at the studios and had to track 50+ people all day long all over Los Angeles. It was sort of like a living video game with screaming studio executives in the background. In retrospect it was really a lot of fun and to this day I can juggle a lot at the same time. This however doesn't scale.

The biggest monkey on my back has been email. I generally hover around 300 to 700 emails that are to be filed or to be responded to. In general, most of those are to be filed. With a number of posts from people like Fred Wilson making posts about email bankruptcy (deleting your inbox and starting over), I paused for a second and considered the option. My anal retentive nature with respect to information made that a bad option for me. I had to bear down and solve it. Last week as I transitioned to a replacement for my two year old laptop, I got the email box to zero. I plan to keep it there. I also am trying to use some structured approaches to deal with the scaling of information. I will keep you posted as to my success.

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