Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Getting from "In" to "Empty"

The post from January 23 spotlighted the seminars for the McGill University Distinguished Educators Seminar Series. I received this e-mail from one of the participants, a teacher from Montreal:

I met you January 21st. Here I sit, February 14th with a completely empty inbox in front of me. It took a while, but for the first time since I started e-mailing (maybe 14 years ago) I have been liberated. Not only is it stress-free to see an empty inbox, but it speeds up the performance time of my e-mail platform.


You were right Frank, and I would never have believed the benefits of emptying my inbox until I actually achieved it!


Thanks a million!


That sort of feedback means a great deal and illustrates how even one concept, used consistently, can make a big difference. I have returned after being out of town for two days. When I left, my inbox was clean. Now, there are 122 e-mails in my inbox with just the critical ones having been handled on the road from my BlackBerry.

One of the tasks for this morning is to get from 122 back to zero. We are all just a few days from being out of control. The good news is that in those times, we are also far from being right back on top...if getting control is the priority.

I always feel better when everything I have to do is visible on one list, worded clearly, with like items grouped together, and with the "fab 5" identified at the top of the list. An empty inbox...it's an sign that we are not just handling that which is screaming the loudest. It's a sign we control the whole picture, that we are giving each responsibility in our lives a little attention at just the right time, and that we are making it look easy.
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