An Invisible touch

The Band Genesis was formed in the 1960s and finally hung up their boots in the 2020s. “Invisible touch” was their only single to reach Number 1 in the US (Genesis never achieved a UK number 1 single). Whilst not a Genesis fan as such, there are plenty of tracks that I am more than happy to hear played and that evoke happy memories.

What does your email inbox look like? Like a Land of Confusion? If it has a scrollbar then this is Many, too Many and you need to address this. Every opened email that remains in your inbox is exerting an Invisible Touch on you. Even if you only glance over it, it is taking your time up. If it is causing you to search harder for the email that you actually do want to action, that is taking up your time. Every time that you reopen it to remind yourself what it was all about that is costing you time. All these Invisible (to you) Touches add up.

As I keep trying to drive home on this website, time = money and this sort of time consumed is unprofitable and is preventing you spend that time on something else that will wither earn you income, or can be used for leisure.

Pre-email, a lot of Business advice books advocated touching each Corporate memo, each letter, each Post-it just once and that is also valid for emails.

Read it, then:

  • Action it, then deal with it immediately. That prevents any confusion and Misunderstanding.
  • Throwing it All Away – be brutal. Why keep that payment notification or client / supplier update. Unless you regularly clear your trash bin, it is still there and searchable for if really necessary. (I’d also recommend clearing your trash bin regularly, but that is personal preference)
  • File it – have a structured folder system and pop it into one, just in case you need to access it (I can pretty much guarantee that 99% of filed emails are never re-read, but you have that safety net, just in case you need to dig something out. That figure comes from my own experience)

Just get it out of your inbox. It is your inbox that you will access the most out of all your email folders, so it is obvious that this should be the easiest and quickest to navigate.

Don’t feel you have to reply to all emails, some require No Reply at All. It wastes your and your recipients’ time with a email that effectively says ‘thanks’.

If you are worried that you might file it for action later but forget it, then write yourself a memo (I keep a paper* ‘to do’ list going and can add a line there. The list gets reviewed every few days). Set a reminder in your Calendar (but when it goes off, Do It, don’t just reschedule. A reschedule is another Invisible Touch. Work out Your Own Special Way.

* I am a traditionalist when it comes to To Do lists. Some people advocate none at all. I believe that it has a place. I have tried electronic lists, even considering a dedicated scribble device such as Supernote or reMarkable, but apart from the significant cost it’s just not as convenient as a paper notebook. Paper notebooks have a very long battery life, too. Mine are still on their first charge….

That’s All