Revolutionize your Mailbox with the app Mailbox

Mailbox Logo

Email is a challenge for a lot of us with ADHD. Many of us find ourselves with thousands of emails in our Inbox.

I’ve discovered a new iPhone app recently called Mailbox. They have an interesting way of marketing. You sign up for the app and create a reservation and then when you open the app, you see how many people are ahead of you and behind you in line. When I first signed up there were over 600,000 people in front of me and when I finished there were 600,000 people behind me.

Screenshot Mailbox Waitlist

The thing that’s really great about Mailbox is that it enables you to go through your Gmail rapidly. It’s currently only available on the iPhone for Gmail. With a single finger you can go through your email and use one of four options. You can delete it, you can archive it, you can have it reappear later in your mailbox or you can put it in a folder that you choose from a list.

I was able to go from over 1000 emails in my Inbox to zero in a period of about three or four days. It’s not a situation where you lose emails never to be seen again. The underlying idea is that your inbox should only be populated with emails you can act on right now. So if there’s something that you need to do that you have an email on but you can’t do it right now – a half swipe to the left and the choice will come up to say when you would like for it to appear again – Later today, this evening, this weekend, next week, some day or you have the option to pick a specific date and time. I found this to be really good for tasks that I need to do for my coaching business if the email comes while I’m in my corporate job; I simply swipe a half slide to the left and it shows back up in the evening or on the weekend and I can address it at that time.

Screenshot of a mailbox swipe

To actually use the app you place your finger on an email and:

  • A short swipe to the right will archive the email
  • A long swipe to the right deletes the email
  • A half swipe to the left gives you the option to have it show up later
  • A long swipe to the left brings up a list of folders you can put the email in
SCreen Shot of Mailbox App Snoozes

Screen Shot of Mailbox App Drawer
Screenshot Mailbox App New Message

I discovered it was extremely important as I started using this to identify those folders or labels that I use most. In Gmail the folders use in Mailbox will be nested under a parent folder called Mailbox. You start out with to read, to buy, and to watch.
So I added:

  • Actions
  • HFC for Hyperfocused Coaching
  • Banking
  • Receipts
  • Reference
  • ADHD

and then I have a few folders that are for particular tasks that I’m involved in or longer-term projects.

I’ve decided that it’s useful to optimize the number of folders to be as few as possible while still giving you the separation of information that you need. I have three big projects going on right now and I’ve got all the emails for those projects going into the same folder and it works out pretty well.

There are a few things that you can do in Gmail to make the integration work better since you’ll be using web-based version of Gmail when you’re on your computer.

One of the things you can do is you can click the little arrow next to your starred items and choose showed starred items first because the emails you’ve scheduled to for later, come back with a star. By setting starred first in Gmail, the starred emails will show at the top of your list, which is handy.

A couple of opportunities for improvement that I’ve found.
Really the only thing that make me still go back and use the iPhone email client on occasion is the facts that the app is locked in portrait mode so I’m unable to turn my phone and have the email appear wider so I can read it. A lot of emails are too small to read in portrait mode on the phone. I can pinch and zoom but then I can’t see part of the email and I have to move back and forth. The iPhone mail app handles both portrait mode and landscape mode.

The other issue that I’ve had as I’ve tweaked the system is the synchronization of changes I make to folders – either on the Gmail side or the Mailbox side. I decided to use a numbering system for my folders to help with sorting and when I change them or reorder them I’ve had a little bit of trouble keeping the list synced between the iPhone and Gmail.

I’m currently trying to figure out exactly what the issue is with that and I will probably send an email to mailbox app to see if I can get some help with it.

This is an application that can be a real game changer for how you interact with your email. A lot of us would like to get in box zero but a lot of us have trouble getting there. This application can really help you do it. I’ve been at inbox zero on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now.

About a week after I started using Mailbox, they were purchased by Dropbox, another favorite tool of mine. You can read the story.

ADHD Friendly Ways to pack for a trip

Overstuffed Stuffed Suitcase

Do you have a trip planned sometime soon? Travel can often be very stressful for someone with ADHD. There are a lot of new things to remember outside our normal routines. If you’re anything like me, the stressful thing about packing is that it’s one of those open-ended tasks that relies heavily on me remembering things.

At best, that can be a source of huge stress for ADHDers and at worst can be a recipe for disaster. – Gotcha there – remember the ADHD Weekly Podcast episode Words Matter? Actually the chances of disaster are relatively small from packing mishaps. When we use language like Disaster, we create a monster in our minds that adds to the stress. I do recall the time I went on a long trip and left “the hanging clothes” on the bed at home. I ended up having to buy a shirt and borrow a tie. (and ultimately did not die:-)

But I digress. Open-tasks are a challenge for me in general. The trick is to turn them in to LOT’s (less open-ended tasks). More on that in a future post.

Read the rest here!

ADHD Coaches Organization Annual Conference 2012

ADHD Coaches Organization Logo
One of the highlights of my year is the annual ADHD Coaches Organization Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This is my third year attending this conference and the past two years I’ve had the privilege of speaking on topics I’m really passionate about. Last year I spoke on ADHD in the Workplace and this year, I spoke on Mind Mapping for the ADHD Brain

One thing that is really interesting for us as ADHD-ers is that when we get together with a group of people like us, it really feels like coming home. And there’s camaraderie that you don’t find in a lot of groups.

I found this to be the case when I went to my first ADA Conference in 2008, where there were 300 ADHD-ers running around. It truly felt like coming home and discovering my tribe. You get that same experience in the ACO except that we’re all coaches as well. There were some truly great headline speakers and the topics were across a broad range of subjects.

I enjoyed learning about how Coach Tara McGillicuddy uses technology to create connections in coaching. Master Coach David Giwerc bought some great topics from his new book Permission to Proceed.

The session tracks at the conference were all valuable:

  • Neuroscience: ADHD and Brain Function
  • ADHD Communities
  • Advanced Coach Training and Mentoring
  • Innovative Approaches and Successful Models
  • Business Building Opportunities: Coaching, Education, and Advocacy
  • Technology for Group Coaching and Education
  • Self Care for Clients and Coaches

The conference was a great way to learn a lot, share ideas and become rejuvenated and even more fired up to help our clients.

My Favorite Candy

Chunky Candy BarEverybody has their favorite candy. Mine is a old fashion mixture of chocolate, raisins, and peanuts called Chunky. It is still sold by Nestle. I can remember going hunting as a 12-year old lad and eating a Chunky for energy. You can still find them various places including Old Time Candy.

So what does that have to do with being productive and successful in life. Well it turns out that Chunky is also a great idea for ADHDers and anyone having difficulty getting started with with a task. Sometimes the enormity of the entire task can be overwhelming for us. I know for me that certain tasks seem hard to get started with.

I was exploring this phenomenon earlier with one of my ADHD coaches and we talked about the way I use MindMapping to break a task down. She used the word “Chunking” to describe the way I break many of my tasks down into smaller chunks. A light bulb went off when she described it that way and especially when she said, “Hey Einstein, why don’t you apply that to the problem we’re working on!”

Chunking can be applied to any task that you’re having trouble getting started.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Think about some logical divisions for your task.
  2. Write down or type the divisions in a list leaving room to add more detail below.
  3. Consider whether you need to further subdivide the task. You should have as many divisions as it takes to get going, but no more.
  4. Begin working on the first division and move to the next one when you’re done.

This concept is a primary one used by project managers and I know it works great for me too. I’d love to hear your feedback. Post it here or call me me at (651)252-4ADD (233)

Entrepreneurial ADHD

I spent this last weekend at a high-end business retreat for entrepreneurs. It’s interesting that there is a much higher incidence rate of ADHD among entrepreneurs than there is among the general population. There’s a higher incidence in prison as well but that’s a different story.

There are great paradoxes in many all aspects of ADHD. A lot of ADHDers have a wealth of ideas that boggles the mind. This creativity is really a powerful weapon for ADHD entrepreneurs. It’s also a gift and a strength. As ADHDers we think that anything we are good at, everybody else is good at. And the things we are bad at, everybody else is good at that too. I heard some incredible ideas that people were building businesses around this weekend. So what’s the paradox – well a ton of ideas can also be paralyzing. Quite of few of those same ADHD creative types have a great deal of trouble making decisions and making choices among many things. It’s a paradox! It’s important as ADHDers that we recognize how our ADHD affects us. If this is a way your ADHD manifests itself, it’s important to develop a system or process to work through prioritizing ideas and focusing on what’s most important.

’tis the season … For Goal Setting

For the past three or four years I have followed a system for reviewing my life and my progress towards meeting my full potential and walking boldly in faith in the path that God has placed before me.

This system is comprised of an annual review of my personal mission statement, a review of last year’s goals, and setting specific MT goals for next year. People talk about SMART goals or SMARTA goals, but for me the Measurable and the Time-based abbreviations are enough. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable,Realistic , and Time-based. The extra A get’s you Alignment with your mission.

I’ve seen a lot of SMART goals over the years that really weren’t that smart.The reason seems to be that even though organizations and individuals profess to be using SMART goals, they are really weak on the metrics and measurements that will determine success or failure. They also often allow the due date slide as well.

Now having said that, I’ve also seen some dynamite SMART/A goals as well. My point is that we need to be cognizant of the fact that choosing the right measurement is important.

Michael Gerber in e-Myth tells us that businesses need to measure everything!

Jay Levinson in Guerilla Marketing tells us that if we don’t measure our marketing results, we’re throwing money away.

So take the time to set goals for next year and review them on a regular basis. Share them with some colleagues or friends that will hold you accountable. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done. I set goals in each area of the life wheel – Career/Education, Relationships, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Personal Improvement/Learning, and Social.

Each of these are important if YOU want to reach your Potential

Thanksgiving

We all have so much to be thankful for!

My wife got a call last Thursday that her father would be undergoing quintuple heart bypass surgery. We loaded up the crew and headed for Mississippi. He came home today in good spirits and as healthy as you can be after that type of surgery. We are thankful for the doctors and nurses who cared for him and we’re thankful for the successful surgery.

We all have many things to be thankful for even in this time of economic challenge. A grateful heart is a key prerequisite for success in life and in business.

Put a system in place today to ensure your mind remembers to tell your heart to be thankful for the many ways in which you’ve been blessed.