A few days ago, I was interviewing Raytheon’s CEO Bill Swanson for my new book.
Along the way, he shared a one of his habits with me that blew my mind: He empties his Inbox every day. No email goes unanswered. Moreover, he’s made himself available to most employees that need to voice concern or make suggestions. That is an impressive feat, I don’t know if I’ve ever emptied my email Inbox completely.
The reason he does that is because he considers it a part of professionalism and accountability. He’s probably right. By letting emails stack up, we prioritize some messages over others and often ignore some completely. If we commit ourselves to an empty Inbox, we may also recover our weekends as well as control over our email life. You can imagine that Bill gives tough love feedback to repeat email offenders that fill his Inbox will unecessary information. If you adopt this policy, you may have to use Bill Jensen’s CLEAR system approach.
I’m going to attempt an empty Inbox for the next business week, which of course means that first I need to plow through about three dozen unanswered emails!