Strategic Procrastination: Another Awesome Approach for Email Management

Oct 30, 2015

spired by my posts on Yesterbox and Slack? Looking to take charge of your email? Finally show your inbox who’s boss?

As my wise friend Kelly always says, “Email is not your job, it is a TOOL to do your job!” While the Yesterbox post was a big hit, the method doesn’t work for everyone. Some people simply have to check a little more often. I’ve recently come across a principal with an alternative approach. . . Let’s call it Strategic Procrastination.

Will, a school leader in California, who recently joined me at a training in San Fran, wrote in,

I’ve become ruthless with my email.  Thanks for giving me back 3 hours of my day!

Will described how he now follows established email routines, rather than checking constantly throughout the day.

Will’s Strategic Procrastination goes like this: “I marked three 20 minute windows into my Google calendar to check my email. The first time is in the morning, then at noon, and last at the end of the day. I also carved out 90 minutes on Wednesday afternoons to respond to emails that aren’t urgent and require more thought.” Here’s the evidence:

[Note: Will is in his planning year and kids are done with academics. Don’t be jealous!]

Having unread messages in his inbox bothers and distracts him.  Now when Will checks email, he just glances at messages and labels them accordingly:

I love this, especially the Follow-up/Wed folder WITH the accompanying time blocked in his calendar. This request for feedback on a student schedule is one example of something Will kicked to the Wednesday slot. Responding will take some time, but he has it reserved!

What do you think? What would it take for you to stay true to an email routine?

PS – Take Back Your Inbox and setting up Daily Routines (that include email!)