GTD

The Universal GTD Inbox

How to manage your Inbox with your GTD workflow in one place
wrote this on August 8, 2011 / no comments

* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.

One of the most important elements of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy is the ability to manage your inbox effectively. Your inbox is your lifeblood – anything that comes across your plate, does so by way of your inbox. And, what is a more obvious and pervasive inbox than your email inbox? Or better yet, your multiple email inboxes since most of us have more than one email account.

While many organizational tools provide a to-do list, note management or calendar functionality, how many of them have an email aggregator? Come to think of it, how many of your to-do items, notes and appointments stem from an email you received? Seems like a logical fit to put them together.

Never mind that for now. Let’s talk for a minute about how you manage your email today. Personally, I have about nine or ten email accounts, five of which I check regularly. Now, maybe I’m not normal…if you asked my friends, they’d say I’m not. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have one account for work (maybe using Outlook), one for home (probably a personal Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail or AOL account), and another you give out to websites and people you don’t want to talk to.

The time it takes me to switch between my Gmail and Yahoo! accounts is an annoying waste of time. Not to mention the fact that I actually have two Gmail accounts (one for friends, and one for professional connections) that require me to log out of one just to log in to the other. Obviously, this process takes time, but how much time is actually wasted?

As pointed out by Larry Magid, mental recovery time for interruptions “turns out to be between 10 and 20 times the duration of the interruption.” Magid backs this up with a quote from Jonathan Spira, author of Overload: How Too Much Information Is Hazardous to Your Organization:

“It takes time for the neurons to fire and it takes time for you to regain your thoughts and recapture the flow of what you were thinking.”

With that in mind, think about the time it takes to switch back and forth between your accounts. Log in to number one, read some stuff, log out, log in to number two, read… you get the picture. Now, add that to the time it takes you to gather the information from your email, switch over to your to-do list application, add that to-do item and then switch back to reading through your inbox.

If only there was another way….

Okay, so you’re probably reading this on the IQTELL blog page and you know what I’m about to say. But, still, a little bit of drama (even if it’s fake drama – e.g. The Hills) is okay from time to time. Right?

In reality, the email aggregation that IQTELL provides is a true timesaver. Not only do I have all of my inboxes in one place, I only need to log in to one account, my IQTELL account, to view them all. An added bonus is the fact that I don’t ever need to see those intrusive, targeted advertisements that Gmail, Yahoo! and other providers show to you based on the content of your messages.

Not only are all my inboxes viewable in the same application, but because they’re in IQTELL, I don’t need to use another application to process them according to GTD principles. I’m able to quickly create a Next Action, save an important file in the Documents App for future reference, or add a Note for my tickler file directly from any message in my inbox.

When you’re measuring productivity, every second counts. So, if a penny saved is a penny earned, a second saved is an extra second to watch reruns of The Hills!

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