INBOX ZERO — The Revolution to Make Email Effective Again
Most people use email incorrectly, learn how to do it right
Lately email is getting a really bad rap. You’ll see all sorts of blogs that say, “Don’t check your email! It’s a productivity killer! It only wastes your time!”
And if you’re staring at an inbox with 3,7643 unread messages, it might be easy for you to agree.
But what if we told you that 99% of the population uses email INCORRECTLY and you’re probably a part of that statistic*
Truth-bomb: If you use email effectively, you can check it multiple times a day — even 10+ times a day if you want to — and it’s only going to help you get things done. Because now, your email is your to-do list and it should be your ONLY to-do list. Anything you see in your inbox you’re able to complete and move to done OR find the right place for it to follow-up at a later time. Sounds scary, we know. But with a little practice it becomes so easy you’ll never want to revert to your old email habits.
The magic steps to get to INBOX ZERO.
We recommend Inbox by Google, but you can apply these steps to whatever email you use and still reap the rewards.
The best way to get to Inbox Zero is to get to Email Zero. Email should be used for external communications only — all other communications should be through tools such as Slack, Trello or other internal platforms. By changing the way you use email this automatically reduces the number of in/out emails per day.
STEP 1 — CHOOSE ONE EMAIL AS YOUR MAIN ADDRESS
Aggregate all of your email addresses to feed into one account. This way, you have one master to-do list to pay attention to.
STEP 2 — USE ONLY THREE FOLDERS
You will need 1. Inbox 2. Snoozed 3. Done.
These immediately show if you use Inbox by Google
Why you only need these three folders
- Email only has three states — you deal with it now, later or it’s done.
- Typically people are unaware of where or how to file their emails. By keeping the filing process simple, every email will now have a distinct place to live.
- By using the “Done” folder, an email is never deleted and therefore always searchable. BUT it is out of the way and not clogging up your inbox.
STEP 3- RIP OFF THE BANDAID
Get rid of all email from the past that you no longer need in one clean sweep.
- In your inbox, select every email that was sent more than two weeks ago. Chances are you will never go back to reading email that is more than two weeks old, so not to worry, you won’t even miss them.
- Automatically move every email selected to “Done.” This ensures you that your emails are always searchable, never deleted, just in case there is an email you need to find in the future.
Now you are ready to FULLY CLEAR YOUR INBOX!
There are three things you can do with an email: Deal, Defer, Done.
1. INBOX — DEAL WITH IT
If you see an email and you can respond right away, respond to the email and then immediately mark it as it to Done by clicking on the ‘tick’ button to get it out of your inbox. This helps clear your inbox yet the email still exists in the Done folder in case you need to find it at a later date.
2. SNOOZE — DEFER
If you see an email and you —
-Need to collect more info
-Are too busy to respond
-Need to access the email at a later time — example you have directions to your dentist but you don’t need the directions until next week
Then you get this out of your inbox by snoozing it to a later date so that it pops back up to your inbox when you need it or when you have time to respond.
When an email is not immediately useful or it has already been dealt with, move it to the Done folder, therefore it’s always searchable.
Once you learn to create the distinction between “I need to deal with something NOW” and “I don’t need to deal with this right now” — your email gets easier and easier to manage.
Keep in mind. Your inbox is now your immediate and high priority to-do list. You can check this multiple times a day to maintain Inbox Zero. The intuitive bundles created by Inbox by Google catch everything else. You can still breeze through this once or twice a day just to make sure you didn’t miss anything important but you will save TONS of time simply by delegating the use of the two.
A few tips to keep in mind
- Email should be used for EXTERNAL communications only. All internal business should go through platforms like Slack. This itself will reduce emails drastically.
- In your settings, change low priority email to come to your inbox only once per day.
Comment below and let us know if you try this method and if you’ve reached INBOX ZERO!
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[Statistic is a Leverage estimate*]