Merlin Mann and his Inbox zero approach have taken the email management world by a storm. Inbox zero endeavors to keep us away from our inboxes and focus better on the tasks that really matter. What helps us achieve this and more is the Inbox zero action. These form our starting point in efficient email management. This article allows you to dive deep into all aspects of the inbox zero and change the way you email.
How to know your inbox zero action
We all do have our fingers in way too many pies. This is why we often tend to feel unaccomplished at the end of the day. Though one can do only so much with one’s time, it surely does help to prioritize one’s tasks. Your urgent tasks at hand, for example, would take highest priority followed by the less important ones. Priority management, like email management, is a matter of consistency and daily effort. As regular email management helps you with emails, daily prioritization also helps you feel fulfilled.
But how does one understand their priorities? With so many tasks to deal with, it can be difficult to set importance to different tasks. Assessing yourself and your inbox can play an important role in helping you set proper priorities. You can use the questions below questions to allocate priority to each email you open. This will thus helping you respond to them correctly as your inbox zero action.
- What does this message mean to me, and why do I care?
- What action, if any, does this message require of me?
- What’s the most elegant way to close out this message and the nested action it contains?
How to respond using the action?
Knowing the right questions to ask, let us now dive into how the answers can help us. Employ the below email management tips to see your email inbox transform to inbox zero!
Does the email matter?
Now that we know what you need to do to understand your priorities, let us see how you can use them for efficient email management. First and foremost, knowing how an email affects you or concerns you is the primary step towards responding to it. If an email is intended for you, it is good to assess how the email will affect you. Managing your email requires you to understand how important each email is or isn’t. Thus you can further process important emails and delete emails that do not matter.
What should inbox zero action should I take?
Once you know that an email is important, decide your course of action. 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.
- When you come across an email that you will take longer to reply to, 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.
How should I do the inbox zero action?
Now that you know what your inbox zero action is going to be, it is time to know how exactly to do it. Depending on the importance of an email, you must sort out the amount of time you are willing to spend on it. If it is an email with an urgent deadline, you can deal with it in the most time efficient manner. You can tend to a less important email might at your leisure. Email management softwares like Mailman can be a great tool for productivity by helping you schedule emails.
Benefits of using the inbox zero action technique
- Greater focus: Without all the distractions of emails and their notifications, one can focus better on the work at hand. The attention often stolen by too many emails can now be directed towards other priority tasks.
- Greater productivity: Better focus on work, expectedly leads to increase in productivity. The quality and even quantity of work done is better and greater as one gets rid of distractions and focuses better.
- Better time management: With good email management, time management also improves. Time management importance comes into picture when all the time wasted in checking up on and getting swept away in emails is now utilised to work and focus better. Time saved is time earned for more.
- Better efficiency: With more time and better focus at hand, efficiency of work also increases. With higher productivity at work, one gets more work done in much less time allowing more time in hand.
- Better work-life balance: Better time management allows more free time at one’s disposal too. This free time could be utilised for one’s life beyond work, to destress and allot time for one’s personal life too.
Inbox zero action is the key
Merlin Mann meant all Inbox zero action to help us stay out of our inbox. This not only helps us in better email management but also helps in managing better mental space. Disconnecting from our emails and focusing on more important tasks is what brings about high productivity and Inbox zero achieves exactly that.
1. Unsubscribe from newsletter and spam
2. Use folders and filters to organize emails.
3. Set a schedule to process emails.
4. Set a timer to control the amount of time you spend in the inbox.
5. Respond immediately to emails that can be answered in 2 minutes.
1. Set filters and inbox rules.
2. Use folders and labels to categorize emails.
3. Unsubscribe from spam.
4. Delete all spam emails.
Merlin Mann, a productivity expert, coined the term Inbox Zero in 2007.
You can delete unimportant emails like spam and newsletters without any hesitation. Archiving emails is another way of clearing your inbox without losing the emails forever.