Inbox zero has been an important topic in the world of email management ever since it was invented by modern man. It has been proven time and again that inbox zero is possible and it is very effective in helping you manage your emails. Because of this, there are many email management tips that claim to help you achieve inbox zero but only seldom do they work. So here we have Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it to help you ace it too.
What is Inbox 0?
Inbox zero is a concept invented by Merlin Mann in 2007. Inbox zero is widely believed to be the process of processing your email inbox to have 0 emails. But as Merlin Mann himself clarified, that is only a myth.
According to Merlin Mann Inbox zero is basically the process of shifting your focus from your email inbox to other productive tasks. Inbox 0 tries to combat the distractions that emails and notifications pose to our productivity. Thus all inbox zero tips help towards reducing this distraction and helping us improve your productivity and focus. All Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it also work towards finding your own email management schedule to achieve inbox zero.
How to manage emails with Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it
Everyone’s approach to email management highly depends on their habits and daily schedules. But amongst the various email management strategies, there is still a similarity between all the Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it. Here is a compilation of all the email management habits and how their daily email management schedules look like.
Email management schedule as per Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it
From amongst all the Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it, here is the most common email management schedule that worked for them.
- New email check + scanning + super-fast responses: 2 minutes every 20 minutes
- Non-critical responses: 10 minutes or 5 emails every 90 minutes
- Processing “the pile”: 2 minutes every hour + 15 minutes at the end of the day
- Metawork: 15 minutes twice a week
- Further culling, responding, and clearing “the pile”: Through the day, as available, in 5-8 minute dashes.
Inbox zero tips to know what to do when a new email drops in
Once you know that an email is important, decide your course of action. Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it advise that one must not procrastinate once the email has landed in your email inbox. Your response to an email intended for you should be one of these for better time management:
- If you can reply to the email in under a minute, do it right away. DO NOT postpone it.
- If an email requires another quick task before replying, do it after you are done with the current task at hand.
- If an email needs a longer time to be replied to, flag or star it and schedule it as a task in your task manager.
- This enables you to manage your emails better while also allowing you to be more time-efficient.
Any email that does not require any of these above actions will be sent to an ‘archive’ folder. This makes sure that you rid your main inbox of any emails that you can not work on. At the same time, saving it in an archived folder ensures that you do not lose important emails. Thus you act on and consume data according to Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it.
What are the Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it for dealing with emails?
Here we deal with those flagged emails. You open your flagged emails to find various emails that need different responses. Some of them are urgent and important while some seem completely redundant. Dealing with these emails needs an email cheat that brings you to a set of questions:
- Is this email relevant to me? Does this need my attention or delegation?
- How old is this email? Is it still important?
- Is it a work email or a personal one?
These questions can prove instrumental in assessing your email and inbox needs. Answering these questions can make it simpler for you to prioritize what emails you need and what is no longer important. From there on, reduce the number of flagged emails by getting them done or adding them to an archived folder if necessary. Feel free to even delete or delegate emails if you deem appropriate. This is an important Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it.
How to maintain inbox zero once you have achieved it
Now that we are done with the heavy processing that keeps our email diet clean, it is time for the final touch. The archive folder eventually becomes home to too many emails that might be important in the long run. Taking a look at them might prove helpful. But this activity should be done in amounts that are not too overbearing to your daily email management. So as important as the archive folder is, exercise restraint in this email management.
How these inbox zero tips changed lives
Now that we know the Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it, here is how they benefitted from it. These benefits can also motivate us to use the various steps for email management that we just discussed.
1. Lesser distractions
We are surrounded by distractions all the time, no matter what we do. During work especially, it is easy to get distracted by the many things that call for our attention. Constant email notifications can form a major chunk of these distractions. Not only does this affect our focus and concentration, but it also negatively affects our productivity.
As more and more distractions catch our eye, the more often we leave the task at hand to attend to a new email or a new reply. Thus we need to refocus our attention on the task every time we get distracted which lowers productivity. This also affects time efficiency as we take longer to complete our tasks. Putting our email notifications off is one way of reducing distractions according to Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it.
2. Better sense of priority
Prioritizing tasks is an important tip for productivity. Your tasks should be set and prioritized such that the most important task is scheduled at a time when you are most alert. This time, typically, in the morning when our energy levels are at their highest. For some people, this time could be later at night or after a workout or after a meal. It could be helpful to wane off all emails during your productive hours. This sense of priority lets you give your best to your tasks and to your emails later.
With higher energy and alertness in your productive hours, there will be a better chance of you performing the task in the best way possible. As the quality of your work improves, so do your productivity levels. This is yet another way in which Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it can reach you to inbox zero and improve productivity.
3. Easier deep work
With the number of tasks that end up in our hands every day, it is easy to confuse ‘quantity’ with ‘quality’. The high number of tasks and emails can easily overwhelm a person. One must never sacrifice delivering good quality work in the guise to complete a few more tasks. And with the prevalence of technology and its distractions, it can be very easy to lose track of the quality of work.
Focus and concentration on a particular task are the basis of achieving better productivity. This Inbox 0 tips from the people who have aced it ensures that one pays optimum attention to the task at hand. All factors that can lower productivity, like distractions, disturbances, shallow work, etc, are kept at bay. Thus this ensures better quality of work as deep work acts as a tool for productivity.
Celebrate inbox zero with people who have aced it
In this article, we see various inbox zero tips and also how people who have aced it benefit from it. The path to achieving inbox zero might be tough but is definitely worth the time and effort. Inbox zero does not only help in improving careers but also helps in maintaining a better work-life balance.
1. Schedule your email management habits well.
2. Fight the impulse to check your emails over and over.
3. Invest in a good email management tool like Mailman.
4. Use your tool and extensions cleverly.
5. Remain consistent in your email management efficiency.
Merlin intended Inbox zero as an email management tool to “switch off” from one’s inbox and to concentrate on the work at hand.
1. Delete all unimportant emails- mainly newsletters and spam.
2. File your emails in different folders to handle them better.
3. Respond to emails that you can reply to under a minute immediately.
4. Set regular schedule to process your emails.
Inbox zero’s purpose is to help you reduce distractions from email notifications and focus on the task at hand.