Everyone knows the problem: you have reduced your inbox to acceptable levels with great difficulty, but an hour later it is full of new emails and tasks again. This way you have never really done much and are struggling to keep up to date the whole day. This way of reactive working seems to have reached its limits.
Unless you choose the original and daring solution of Tony Hsieh, CEO of the Zappos online fashion store. He stopped reading each new email some time ago and switched to the Yesterbox system...
The principle is simple. Tony never read emails sent and received the same day, but focuses exclusively on his inbox of... the previous day. His only task therefore consists in reading, handling and emptying his Yesterbox, the inbox with emails from yesterday.
This system has a lot of advantages. For instance, the list of tasks is already fixed in the morning and ‘to-do’s’ are not constantly being added during the day. Add to this that Hsieh is often finished with e-mails before noon and he can concentrate on his other important work for the rest of the day.
Furthermore, you will discover that your Yesterbox reduces the urgency of incoming mails. After all, senders know that they should not disturb you with extremely urgent messages by email: your response will be too late anyway. This again creates an e-mail culture in which people try to solve their short-term problems themselves, instead of forwarding them to somebody else by email.
What if it is really urgent? Then Hsieh remains accessible. Like any normal mortal he has a phone and he can be reached via Skype. The rules are clear: those means of communication should be used only if a response is absolutely necessary within 24 hours. Whoever abuses these synchronous means of communication to get priority, will not benefit from their effort.
Agreed, in some jobs Yesterbox is an absolute illusion. Personnel working at a help desk, for a logistical service or somebody who manages the inboxes of others, cannot use this system. But for many others, it indeed seems to be a way out of the ongoing chasing race. Our suggestion: try it for three days and see what happens.