How do ever expect to get things done on your lists if you never step away from your Email Inbox? Seriously folks, those lists need care and feeding too. Just like the Inbox doesn’t get to zero on its own, your lists don’t ever get completion unless you:
- Do what’s on them
- Decide not to do what’s on them
You need time for processing and defining your work, just like you need time for doing what you’ve already defined, as well as time you need for choosing to do work as it appears. So is David Allen suggesting a nice, neat little pie chart of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 to spend your time? No. But everybody needs time for each one of these areas. And technically, while reading email is part of defining your work, it can quickly teeter into doing work as it appears when you start using it as a distraction or procrastination technique to avoid what’s on your lists.
If you really don’t want to do what’s on your lists, checking email won’t solve that. I’d say you have a bigger issue to look at there called why are your lists repelling you?