Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Started On Building My Mental Strength Using My Email AccountAs The Starting Point

A couple of days ago, I started talking about the two types of mental strength. The first was the mental strength we use to remember everything and the second form of mental strength was what we use to get our tasks done. I suggested that the first way to get your mental strength up was to reduce your usage of trying to remember everything and that alone would free up some additional mental capacity to help you get your tasks done. After that, then you would have to work on building up the second form of mental strength by using progressive resistance - slowly adding more tasks over time to increase what you can do.

I also feel that while a lot of you can buy into the usage of thirty day challenges to change your habits and build mental strength, I might have a tougher time getting you to buy into the strategies I am going to outline in the lessons over the next few weeks. Why? Well, the main reason is because it's going to take a little more effort on your part to do and you might not necessarily feel like doing it.

As a Black Belt though, I think it's a critical lesson in improving your life. The reason is that the more time you spend on figuring out what done looks like, the easier it's going to be to get it done, and more importantly to know when you are done.

But, I look at my task here as not so much trying to convince you that this is the path that you should follow as much as it is to show you how to follow the path I recommend.

So, what I'm going to do, is spend time breaking down a task that I'd guess is central to all our days and that task is handling email and getting it down to zero.

I'm going to break this task down in a step-by-step series of articles so you can follow the steps I take to show you how I tackle getting all of the steps I do in checking my email out of my head and organized into an efficient checklist that I can then use to follow on a daily basis to start to measure my mental strength and then also build it.

Once you see how I do this process for email, then you can then use the same series of steps for just about every other thing you do each day.

As I've gone through most of the stuff on my site, I've let you see it from the beginning as it evolves. Some of you who have been following me for a while might notice the subtle changes I have made to this site every day. I let this process play out so that you can see how something starts from the beginning and ends up as a final product. What this means is that the first run through, the second run through and following run throughs bring consistent improvement.

[caption id="attachment_1310" align="alignright" width="123" caption="My initial folder setup inside my email account."][/caption]

My series on taking on email will follow a similar process. I will break down what I do each step of the way. As I look at it each day, I will then refine it as I go along as this is the way most people do stuff. Breaking down your day is something that will take you a number of hours to fully complete. This is what it will look like. Imperfect at first but eventually refined into a polished system.

It will also be taken in small steps at a time each day.

The first step for me, will be in getting my initial setup of folders inside my email account out of my head and onto my checklist. I have put a picture of my folder structure today over to the right so you can have a look.

With the exception of a couple of these, like starred, sent mail and trash, I look at each of these folders as it's own separate inbox. What I will do, is start by getting the Inbox folder in shape and then move down the folder list until I've studied what I do with each and every email that flows through these folders until I can say I've completed downloaded all the steps required to process it all PLUS actually do it each and every day. In my case, I plan on getting it to zero twice a day. Once at the beginning of the day and once at the end.

In case you are wondering, the four digit coded folders are the last four numbers of the Google voice numbers I use.

If you are a Black Belt Project member, you'll notice that I put a list of my folders in my checklist you have access to. The link to my checklist is in any of my forum posts in the forum. If you are not a member, join now to gain access to it.

So that's it for today. I broke down a little of what is involved in getting my email to zero and will pick up where I left off tomorrow.

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Michael Kuhn

Black Belt Project: Build Mental Strength


Getting email knocked out completely twice a day may seem formidable to most people. Until I understood (after watching your video several times) that an email inbox is NOT a storage place, I just kept it all there right where it came in. I still feel compelled to go to my inbox every couple of hours instead of the set times I decided on even after several months of my new good habit. I guess that too willtoads given time.

Now I look at my daughter's 2000+ messages and have a tough time not preaching to her! It feels SO GOOD to make your inbox clean and tidy each and every day. And you don't miss something important because it is buried under all the unimportant.

I know what you mean Juli. I still check mine a lot because of my smart phone. Part of my problem is I like to get I think it's the "secret" at work!