Why do we pay so much attention to our inbox? After all, what’s in the inbox is largely other people’s priorities, not our own. Sure, we all need to provide great customer service, and there may be stuff from customers there, but if you keep checking your inbox because there may be stuff from customers there, then it’s time to get two inboxes: one for customer communications, and one for everything else.
Here’s another thing. If you look at your job as consisting of long-term and short-term tasks, if you start each day with the short-term ones, you may never get on to the long-term ones. Ever. But if you start each day with the long-term ones, you’ll get everything done (because you’ll eventually have to find the time for the short-term ones, or get someone else to do them).
These two ideas lead me on to a nice blog post called Organize Your Business by Chris Brogan. He claims that tasks which are deadline-specific come third in his day, not first, and correspondence comes fourth. It’s a brave strategy, but it does make a lot of sense.