Every time I travel (which is only once or twice a year), I’m forced to miss a couple work days.
On the surface, I’m losing productive work time. But there is an advantage to traveling periodically throughout the year — even if you’re traveling for non-business reasons.
Personally, I notice my productivity goes up the week of my departure. I have only three or four days to get done what I normally do in five. So I stay more focused.
I also spend more time thinking about what I need to do in advance to make sure I can relax while I’m away from my business.
For instance, yesterday I did a major clean-up of my email inbox. I created new labels and set up some 50+ filters that will now automatically sift and sort the non-important emails I get each day.
Setting up filters in Gmail is really easy. When you get a message you want to filter, open the message. Then click the More button and select “Filter messages like these.”
Most filters are based on the sender’s email address, but you can add more criteria if you want.
After establishing the criteria, you get to set the parameters for what Gmail does with the types of messages you want to filter.
For many of the lists I’m on, I have Gmail mark them as read and apply a label. This way I’m not distracted by all the marketing messages that hit my inbox each day. Plus, important emails (from clients) aren’t buried by the unimportant ones.
When I set up a new filter, I usually select the option that also applies the filter to all matching conversations that I’ve already received.
By using automated filters, you can clean-up your inbox in a jiffy. And then keep it clean.
It will now be much easier for me to keep my inbox cleared out whether I’m traveling or not.
The funny thing is, I’ve been intending to use more Gmail filters to improve my productivity, but without some urgency (created by an upcoming trip), I’ve put off these automation tasks in favor of more-urgent client work.
Anyway, there’s some food for thought. If you’re not using filters to automatically sift and sort your email, you should.
-Ryan M. Healy
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