Magic Chart

The 3 principles that will help you reduce by 57% the time you spend in your inbox.

MisterPaton, I don’t have time to work, I spend the whole my day answering emails in my inbox, and I need help with the workload.”

You can not imagine how many times in my career, I heard this sentence from my teams…

I like to see my inbox as my little Maltese dog 🐶 – his name is Rigo.

Rigo is a very wild, aggressive, and demanding 5kg “beast”.

Zero Inbox Inbox management Organizing email in Outlook mail Gmail Organizing Inbox

During the very first walks with him, he was always in the lead – meaning:

  • If Rigo wanted to go right ➡️and I wanted to go left, we were going right.
  • If Rigo wanted to stop 🤚, and I wanted to move, we stopped.

You see where I am going … I was going where Rigo wanted.

Rigo had full control. Rigo was in the lead. The same happened with my inbox.

At the beginning of my professional career, my inbox was just like Rigo.

My inbox was dictating my day at work.

Due to my poor outlook management, I had long working days with a big impact on my work-life balance.

And one day… something changed.

Effective Workload Management with Outlook

I developed my own system based on the Effective Workload Management training with Outlook.

Thanks to my system, I managed to reduce by 57% the time I was spending in my inbox.

If like me, you want to reduce the time you spend in your inbox,

Join the more than +1000 people that already attended this training – read more here.

The 3 principles that will help you reduce by 57% the time you spend in your inbox

Start your day looking at your calendar (not at your inbox)

I arrive at the office at 09:00 on a cold Monday morning, and surprise – big surprise,

I see an email from the manager of my manager – ouch surprise.

What does he want?

He wants me to prepare a few slides including results for the last quarter to review at a Wednesday meeting.

I start to prepare the slides, gather the data, run calculations, working on the format …

when I want to realize 1h went in a blink of an eye.

Surprise (one of the bad ones),

since I was so focused on preparing the slides, I missed the 121-time slot with one of my team members.

You can imagine the frustration of my colleague, waiting for a full 30min and the meeting not taking place

For that whole Monday, I was running late from meeting to meeting – my level of stress was on the roof…

not the best Monday of my life – you can tell

Lesson learnt.

I always start my day checking my Outlook calendar, seeing the meetings that I have for the day and for the rest of the week

I always finish my day by checking my Outlook calendar, seeing the meetings that I have for the remaining days of the week and the following week

Thanks to this – I can recognize:

  • which meetings I am leading
  • which meetings I am contributing
  • which meetings are 121-time with my team members

If you want to learn more about how to effectively manage your calendar, click here.

How to do it:

File/Options/Advanced/Start Outlook in this folder: Select Calendar

How to set up Calendar as the default view in Microsoft Outlook. File/Options/Advanced/Start Outlook in this folder: Select Calendar

Book time slots during the day to review your inbox

We are being paid for getting the job done.

We are not being paid for answering/writing emails.

Your inbox is only a tool, not a system.

We are being paid for making decisions, making analyses, driving improvements …

Your inbox is only a tool, not a system.

My recommendation is to book three-time 3⃣ slots per day to review the calendar,

Not one or two but – three 3⃣

First slot

Right at the beginning of the day after you check your calendar.

First your calendar, second your tasks and third your inbox.

Not the other way round, First your calendar, second your tasks and third your inbox.

Are we clear on the first slot? 👌

Once you reviewed your inbox in your first slot – as Rihanna would say work work work.

Do not check your inbox again until the second slot

Second slot

Before/after lunch 🍽 – I leave it to your choice

My recommendation is to do it right before lunch – why?

To make sure I am not getting disturbed while I am having my lunch – lunchtime is a precious time

Singing like Rihanna again, work work work.

Once you are done with your second inbox review, no more inbox reviews until the third and last slot

PRO TIP: Always book in your calendar time for lunch.

My recommendationis to book one hour for lunch – so you have certain flexibility if an urgent issue arises

Third slot and last slot

Right at the end of the day. Same logic as the beginning of the day.

You check the calendar for the next day and you manage the inbox

Follow the MisterPaton magic chart

The principle is simple: Each email needs to be actioned only once.

I repeat for the ones at the back of the class – Each email needs to be actioned only once

MisterPaton magic chart

Mister Paton – Magic Chart

I want you to imagine while looking at this chart that each email you are getting in your inbox is arriving from the top.

For each of the emails you are getting in your inbox – I want you to ask yourself the relevant questions

  • Is this email actionable?
  • Yes
  • Am I the right person?
  • Yes
  • Can I do it in less than 2-5min?
  • Yes

In that case,

Open the email (double click on the email), reply to the email (shortcut: Ctrl+r) and move the email to the relevant folder (shift+ctrl+v)

If you want to learn about the most useful shortcuts – keep reading here

If you feel comfortable spending the huge amount of time you spend in your inbox, not implementing any new shortcuts and performing all the actions manually, you are in the wrong place. ❌

My vision for this site is to be the platform for people who want to drive improvements in their day-to-day job, release time to perform quality jobs and take their performance to the next level

Join the more than +1000 people that already attended this training – read more here.

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