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Book Review: Digital Leader

Digital Leader, just recently released, another great book by author, Eric Qualman. This may be the most beneficial book I have read all year. I have been saying to people this is the best book I have read all year but after thinking about it this week, it is probably better stated as the most beneficial.

There are many nuggets in this book that will people to take control of digital lives but I want to focus on the one that has literally changed the productivity of my day since reading it about 10 days ago.  I have struggled forever with trying to keep up with e-mail but not any longer.

“The average person receives 41.5 texts per day and sends/receives 141 email messages per day.”

I am right smack dab in the top rung of this statistic.

For years now I have struggled to keep up. Every morning when I wake up there would be 100+ e-mails waiting for my attention and many of them would sit in my inbox for weeks and even months. Not anymore…

Here are some of the things Eric recommends for defeating the e-mail monster.

#1. If you are like most people, you have too much coming into your inbox. Whether it is email, text messages, instant messages, Skype video, Facebook chat, Twitter, or the next new thing—a lot of material is coming at you. You should relish this as it means someone else thinks you are important.

“You should tackle answering your email at two 30-minute intervals during the day and get through as much of it as you can. While you probably will not be able to answer everyone in 24 hours, you will be less stressed and more focused on responding to the most important emails first.”

“Most messages can be answered in one to two sentences—start making this a habit.”

“Some people suffer from a digital pack rat mentality. If you haven’t read something in 10 days delete it. It must not be that important. If you cannot bring yourself to delete rigorously, then make a folder called “to read” and put them there. Most likely you will never read these, but it quickly clears your inbox of unnecessary clutter.”

“Before you send a message determine if it’s absolutely necessary. The more messages you send the more messages you will receive.”

“Turn off the message alert functionality on all your devices and applications.”

I have taken the following actions and it has literally changed the way I work. By the way, it has served to make me more productive.

I am devoting 30 minutes each morning to respond and send e-mails and again 30 minutes in the afternoon. On the following occasions I will deviate from this. If I am waiting in line with nothing to do, I will work from the android phone to delete and answer e-mails. Also, if I am sitting in traffic, a doctor’s office, etc…

Anything that I want to keep fresh but not in the inbox because I don’t need it for a few days, it goes in a new file called “read later.” I go to the read later file a couple of times a week and delete things I haven’t used and respond to others and I am doing this in the 30 minute time period for responding and answering e-mails.

I have turned off alerts on my android phone for everything except text messages which for me tend to be more important messages or more urgent.

Now, these are all things that I have probably heard somewhere before but they stuck this time. Maybe because I have struggled so much with being overwhelmed with the amount of information that I receive. However, they are important messages and deserve to not be ignored.

These small items have changed my life for the better. My inbox is empty constantly now. I am not stressing over that pile of emails in my inbox, there is great peace in knowing that box is empty. I am handling every email one time, with short replies, deleting it, or placing it where it belongs.

This is one simple nugget I gained from Digital Leader and there are many, many, more. This is a book every leader should read.






December 22, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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