IMS Daily Workflow: Manage the Inbox

gr_manage_30px_blue Once you have finished Identifying the day’s priorities, move on to the Manage phase of the IMS Daily Workflow.  Twice daily (or some other specified interval based on email response time requirements), starting with your highest priority email first, quickly act on each Inbox message or determine when you want to act on it: 

Act Immediately? 

Reply 

If the message doesn’t have a Topic assigned to it, assign one.  IMS will link all future emails, tasks and appointments to this Topic. 

Reply 

Reply to the message if you can do so in a minute or two.  IMS can automatically file the original message to a Topic folder for you. 

Delegate 

Delegate the email to someone else as appropriate. 

File 

If no response is required, review the message and file it to a Topic folder

 

Act Later? 

Reply 

If the message doesn’t have a Topic assigned to it, assign one.  IMS will link all future emails, tasks and appointments to this Topic. 

Reply 

Defer messages that you aren’t ready to deal with to a later date. 

Delegate 

Create a task from email that requires further action on your part. 

File 

Schedule appointments from messages that require a meeting. 

 

No action required? 

Reply 

Unsubscribe from mailing lists or long email threads that you have no interest in. 

Delegate 

Delete messages that you don’t need to keep for archiving purposes.

This phase of IMS is the bridge that moves you from sizing up your day to working on your most important projects.  Consider it blocking and tackling – quickly and efficiently move through your Inbox and put messages onto your calendar or your task list.  The end result will be a cleared Inbox and a prioritized task list, allowing you to focus on your work rather than your email. 

Up Next: Succeed by focusing on your core work



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