Show Notes

Episode 92: Working Through a Backlog

When stuff piles up in your home or office it can overwhelming to contemplate plowing through it and getting rid of the backlog. Add perfectionist tendencies to the equation and it can be even more challenging. In this episode, Janine and Shannon discuss some strategies for working through a backlog. Stay tuned next week when we discuss preventing pileups so the backlogs don’t come back.

Discussion topics include:

  • The satisfaction of working through a backlog
  • Our own current backlogs
  • Dealing with a (tremendous!) email backlog
  • Picking the low-hanging fruit first
  • How putting like things together can help you decide to get rid of stuff
  • An easier way of dealing with filing: Keep less paper!
  • The value of doing a high-level presort before filing
  • How a timer can help you get through your backlog
  • Allowing yourself to deal with a backlog with as much ease as possible
  • Isolating a backlog to allow you to work on it a little at a time without adding to it
  • Dealing with a backlog of postal mail
  • Remember: The job’s not done until the tools are put away


Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management, by Mark Forster

A note from Shannon:

I worked through the bulk of my email backlog using an app called Chuck Email. It groups all your messages in your inbox into groups by sender, subject or time. Then you can process those batched groups very quickly. I went from over 12,000 emails in my inbox to under 300 in less than two hours!

4 thoughts on “Episode 92: Working Through a Backlog”

    1. We always recommend going for the low-hanging fruit to get started. Take the smallest step you can to start. What’s that for you?

  1. I’m on vacation in Florida right now. This is the first time I have traveled with a laptop (I bought a new Chromebook for this trip.) I spent my down time at the airport going for the low-hanging fruit in my email Inbox. I have not seen Inbox Zero in years, but that is my goal. I just bought the Mailbird app for Gmail on a lifetime basis. I am looking forward to installing it and using it to manage my emails. I do spend some time going through newsletters and promotions, clicking Unsubscribe as I go, and that is helping with the number of emails I get. I did sort my emails by sender so I could go through them faster…that’s a great tip!

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