Education · General · Organization · Teaching Resources

Sunday Inspirations: “Three Ds”

youve got too much mail


I recently read that a common mistake that business people make is to read their emails first thing in the morning.  The article suggested that you read them right before lunch after you’ve had a chance to be “productive,” and are motivated to tackle them so you can move on to lunch.  I like this idea, and would implement the suggestion if only I weren’t a teacher.

A teacher has two professional fronts to contend with: preparation and execution.  Preparation is the opportunity to ensure you are ready for the latter, execution, when students are in front of you.  The only opportunity I get to read my emails is before my students arrive.  I make it a policy to respond within 24 hours.   This means I fall into the trap of getting tied up with answering emails, sometimes at the loss of my prep time.

A colleague shared with me how she gets through her emails quickly and keeps her inbox small.  Without a fancy name, let’s call it the Three Ds: Do; Delegate; Delete.  You must do one of these three things as you weed through your emails each morning.

DO: If there is a task to be completed, do it.

DELEGATE: If you’re unable to do it, delegate it.

DELETE: If it’s unimportant, or if you’ve done one of the two previous things, delete it.

It’s supposed to be that simple.  Well, I tried it today, after being away last week.  I had 133 new emails in my inbox.  Here’s the breakdown of how I handled all 133:

DO: 6. I was able to complete whatever task was required of those six emails (mostly responding to the sender with an answer).

DELEGATE: 3. I was able to forward three emails to a more appropriate party who could handle the task.

DELETE: 119. Yes, folks, I received 119 emails over the course of a week that were able to be deleted immediately, without any further response or task completion.  Now I really know how much time is wasted by reading emails!

If you were just that curious, you may have noticed that 119 + 6 + 3 does not equal 133.  I added a fourth D: DELAY.  It really goes against the rules of the Three Ds, but there are some things I couldn’t handle from home on the Sunday of my return.  But I can go back to school tomorrow knowing I have a mere five emails lingering from last week.

I just wish it didn’t mean that I had to use my Sunday to get there!

How about you?  Do you have any suggestions on how to get through the multitude of emails we get every day?

Amy Marie sig 2


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