It’s the ever-elusive goal… “inbox zero”… that brief dream moment of peace…
Whatever happened to the excitement we used to feel at the AOL voice’s interruption of “You’ve got mail”?
Well, we went from a few emails a day from people who we were excited to hear from…
To thousands of emails a day, dominated by spam and marketing… how the heck can we manage it?
Here are five tips to help you shift how you handle your email so YOU’RE the one in control again – and you get your productivity groove back!
1. Change the way you view your inbox.
Don’t look at your inbox as a “to do” list. It’ll keep you feeling overwhelmed and never caught up if you do.
2. Set specific “email” times.
Choose the times of day you’ll focus on email and stick to them.
Don’t let it become an all day, every day monster lurking just around the corner and popping up at random.
3. Use filters and archive ruthlessly.
When you process email, at your chosen daily times, ask yourself these filter questions:
- Do I need to take action?
- Can I file/archive it?
- Should I delete it?
If it’s actionable, save it (see step 4).
If you might want to read it later, archive it. And archive ruthlessly – don’t feel pressured into reading every marketing email or newsletter that pops into your inbox!
If it’s spam, delete it.
4. Setup folders and use a system.
Do not leave endless lists of actionable emails in your inbox. Instead, use a system of folders to file them:
- Action – these are the ones that require a response from you
- Review – emails you know you want to review but are less urgent and not direct action required
- Awaiting Reply – file items here that you’ve responded to and are awaiting a reply
- Archive – completed emails get archived for later reference
Tip: Use Boomerang for GMail to make all of the above easier! It allows you to schedule emails and to bounce them back into your inbox at a later date.
See it as a challenge, instead of an uncontrollable monster.
Try the Inbox Zero Email Game at http://emailga.me/ (it’s free)