by Thomas C. Ossa
CEO, RockWeb Systems Inc.
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In my 15 years of running a business, my 20 years of teaching, and my 39 years of working *,
I think this blog will provide you my favorite & most successful organizational technique that I have used the most.
Sounds like a tall order?
Good. Read on.
IT’S NOT EXTERNAL. IT’S INTERNAL.
How we navigate through the world should always, first be an internal process.
Eventually, when we are able to filter out what is unnecessary, what remains becomes to much more valuable.
Such is with email. Or if you’re like me – such is the one thing we wish didn’t coincide with The Abundance Mentality.
Let me rephrase, in case I’m being vague. There’s a lot of f*cking emails.
In my previous book “How to Program Your Life”, I emphasized that email should never be opened until it is organized. But I’ve found now that very little should be from your other roles within your company.
Simply put: You need a solid, foolproof organizational method to manage your time better. I say this as a fellow fool.
This is not only true – what I’m about to explain will be truly beneficial for your time allotment. I don’t know if you notice, but if you’re “on the clock” like I am running a business (in my case, I run several: 1. 2. 3. , time seems to have a way of becoming a container in and of itself, in which we dump all our random things. And you know for a fact as I write this, you don’t organize your email.
Luckily, there’s the FOUR-D method of organization. I basically just came up with that name as a slight adjustment to the original 4-D method, just so I can enjoy teaching it again, now, to you. And I hope you will benefit.
Ok, here we go.
THE FOURD METHOD:
While the order may seem a bit askew to you, the order is absolutely key.
Disclaimer: If you don’t agree with me, honestly, close this blog now and leave. No offense, but I don’t want to explain this to an unreceptive audience. I’m on a mission. You either get it right now, or you don’t. And that’s ok, either way. And for the record, I hope you stay. We have fun doing this stuff! You should, too!
Alright, thanks for reading past that paragraph. Happy to continue forward. Now…the reason why the order of the FOUR-D method is important is because of this:
- You can’t do everything
- You still want to respond
- You can engage others to work
- You prefer to create your mission
To a manager, it may sound like a different approach to managing your emails, your communications, your workflow, your financial matters, your documentation, and much more.
But really – it’s about a mindset.
Just like the plethorah of emails that you are probably answering ad nauseum all day long while trying to seem like everything is ok to your customers, your employees, and let’s not forget your friends, family and you, it’s important to organize what’s coming at you — in every dimension.
I want you to go back and read that sentence again. I hope you understand the subtext.
Alright, enough theory. Here’s what you do to use the newly termed, legendary FOUR-D method. Let’s apply it to one dimension of your work-life again, just like we did 5 years ago in the first book.
TRY IT OUT! MANAGE YOUR EMAIL NOW!
WITH THE FOURD METHOD
I’m going to now walk you through how to use the FOURD Method.
Make sure you try it out right now. Let’s throw you in the deep end!
- Open up your email platform. It’s probably Gmail or Outlook.
- Don’t open any of your emails. You want to. Don’t.
- Begin FOURD reviews of everything that you haven’t read yet:
- Delete any crap emails, spam promotionals, or other unnecessaries
- Defer any long-term project emails. Not for long. More on that momentarily.
- Delegate Forward an email to someone (employee, client, colleague)
- Do Hop on the most important emails NOW
Do you now understand? In basketball terms…it’s the D that matters. As in defense – of your time.
Because you have vital stuff to do. So focus on that. Which is item 4: DO.
But before you can do what you were born to do, you have to get past level 1, and that level is dealing with a plethorah of stuff that takes you off task.
So use the FOURD method to truly take your time back, starting with your email.
BONUS: USE GMAIL TO COLOR-CODE EMAILS
If you made it down this far… I have a bonus for you.
If you’re using Gmail, there’s a nifty way you can flag emails and snooze them in order:
You wanna get next-level? Combine FOURD with flagging each email with color, before organizing:
- DELETE: Anything you don’t code, gets deleted. No exceptions.
- DEFER: Snooze emails until next time. But only for 5 minutes. BLUE
- DELEGATE: Forward emails to those that should act upon them. YELLOW
- DO: Handle anything that remains, quickly. Within 4 minutes. GREEN or RED
Obviously, depending what’s in the red or green, it might take more that four minutes. But regardless, go with speed and efficiency.
The most beautiful part of this system is that very, very few important communications will slip through the cracks. And you’ll have more time to devote to what matters most.
* Started working when I was 7. Still love what I do. You should, too.