Just in time vs. Just in case

I use David Allen’s GTD methodology in almost everything I do. One application I’ve developed for myself is a ‘just in time vs. just in case’ construct. For me, just in time is information that is ‘mission critical’ and I must track because it may contain an actionable item for me. Just in case is information that may contain an actionable item but that I only need to scan, in other words, unlikely to be mission critical.

It’s interesting to me that Outlook has a feature that supports this kind of thinking. It’s called ‘focused inbox’. If you are regularly receiving emails that are ‘just in case’ here are a couple of thoughts:

  • Unsubscribe altogether
  • Use ‘focused inbox’
  • Use a feed reader like Inoreader if you don’t want to unsubscribe but you want a different solution than ‘focused inbox’

I’m old enough that I remember the day that our sysadmin turned on the internet gateway on our corporate email system and we could now send and receive email with the outside world. Soon after I discovered that some websites actually would send you a newsletter if you subscribed and it seems like every day since then, I’ve been struggling to get them out of my inbox.

Mixing news and email is a recipe for un-productivity.

Here’s where my thinking is at the moment: if you want to be able to focus, use email for email and a feed reader for following topics that are interesting to you.

  • Get newsletters out of your inbox so that you’ll never be distracted by bright, shiny objects
  • Use ‘focused inbox’ to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’
  • Use Inoreader to track all the subjects that interest you

Remember the wise words of Barry Fitzgerald in The Quiet Man: ‘when I drink whiskey I drink whiskey’…

Get newsletters out of your inbox so that you’ll never be distracted by bright, shiny objects again. Use Inoreader to create a virtual newspaper! Do email when you do email and news when you do news.

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