You like being organized. You struggle to find important emails in the clutter. You’re scared or lazy to clear your inbox of the ever-growing mountain of junk. No matter what your reason, the importance of a clean inbox and organized email is worth your time and effort because email is a critical part of official and personal communication.
What is Inbox Zero and why is it important?
Productivity expert Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero philosophy focuses on email management that can help achieve an empty or almost empty inbox, and make ongoing email management a habit.
Think about the time you spend at work managing email a number of times every day. It’s an avoidable strain on time and a burden on productivity.
How do I manage email effectively?
Here’s a summary of useful tips from Inbox Zero and others for effective email management and increased productivity at work and at home. Once you apply these tips, managing emails on a regular basis is sure to be a less daunting task.
- Process email two or more times a day.
- Sort messages into folders using rules and filters, or move them manually into folders. O’Reilly has a simple video for creating rules in Microsoft Outlook, and GCFLearnFree.org has one for Gmail.
- Delete all unwanted new emails, and archive new messages you’d like to read later.
- Unsubscribe from promotional emails by services you no longer use. Try Unroll.me to unsubscribe from multiple services in one go.
- Forward or don’t reply to what can be best answered by someone else.
- Immediately respond to any new messages that can be answered in two minutes or less.
- If new messages require more than two minutes to answer or can be answered later, move them to a ‘requires response’ folder, and spend a few minutes each day responding to these emails.
Having stated the virtues of Inbox Zero, it may not be practical or achievable for everyone. The objective is to manage email effectively and spend less time doing it, not just have an inbox with no email.
The best way to achieving a zero-email inbox is to start now and keep going until it’s a habit. If you plan to be a Inbox Zero champion, you might want to share this wisdom with those you think need it most.