Text Message Overwhelm

Text message overwhelm? We may all suffer from it from time to time. Which ones have we read, and which ones have we not? Which ones need some sort of follow-up? This post shows you how to handle your text messages and make it easy. One disclaimer: This procedure is for Android devices.

Handle it once

An old time management practice states “handle it once.” Make decisions on each piece of paper the first you touch it. Make decisions on each email message the first time you read it. We are going to extend that concept to text messages.

A text message is quick. You read it, reply to it. and you’re done with it. But what about those times when you read it, and even if you reply, you’re still not done? Look at this example:

Text Message

While you could text a reply such as, “Sure, I’ll get that for you,” you would not be done with the message. You still have to go and get the report and then email it, scan it, snail-mail it, etc. You don’t want to drop everything and do it now. Therefore, putting it on the task list is the thing to do.

Turn that text message into a task

On your phone, tap and hold on the text message. The following menu appears:

Text messages sharing


Tapping on “Share” reveals this menu:

Text message share

Pulling the “XYZ report” is a task. Send the information to your task list of choice. Mine is Toodledo. Tapping on the Toodledo icon opens the app, creates a new task, and automatically pastes the full text message into the note section of that task:

Text message turned into task

Complete the task title and save. The task is in the system. You have just earned the right to forget about it!

Made a decision and go on

Every day, you will get text messages that you cannot handle with a quick reply. You find yourself revisiting, rereading, and rethinking them. Without fail, something falls through the cracks, and it’s because of a hole in the system. If you can’t handle the message, make a decision as to what to do about it. Put the results of the decision on the task list. Forget about it and go on about your business, taking comfort in the knowledge that your task list will remind you.

What about iPhone users?

How can you do the same thing on iOS devices? I would love to hear from you. We can follow up with a post devoted to this subject from the perspective of the iPhone. Leave a comment or email me directly.

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