First, kill your Inbox

Today is the first business day of 2009.  

It's a pretty daunting organizational task: Where to start!? For me, I'm going to start the new year by answering or filing every email in my Inbox(es). It's like cleaning out your digital closet.  

To answer all of my email, I'm going to choose the "work offline" option in Entourage (the Mac version of Outlook.) I've also blocked out the entire morning to do it (no multi-tasking). By killing my Inbox, I create a feeling a relief — that I've taken care of the loose ends of 2008.

Over the holiday season, it's pretty easy to let your Inbox swell, so this task is no easy one. My Inbox system will be simple:  Read, respond, file and follow up.  In many cases, I've let emails stay in my Inbox because they require more action than a reply (print out receipt, check out website, do something).  The followup step, then, is just as important as the read/reply/file steps.  

If you've sent me a note in the last month and have yet to hear a response, you'll likely get it today!