Nothing is ever constant in the corporate world. But one thing that we all deal with together is our overflowing inboxes. We are always overwhelmed by the many emails waiting for our attention. This makes it natural for us to dream of a clean, light inbox where email management is a breeze. This dream itself gave birth to the Inbox zero approach. But before trying out strategies to achieve inbox zero, we must understand what the inbox zero approach means.

What is the Inbox zero approach?

The idea of Inbox zero was put forth by the productivity guru, Merlin Mann in 2007. And since then, this approach has changed the face of email management as we know it. It is popularly assumed that the ‘zero’ in ‘inbox zero’ implies the number of emails we must have in our inbox. That is, inbox zero might imply clearing out your inbox mercilessly, no matter how important your emails are. But this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Merlin Mann meant the Inbox zero approach as a way to disconnect from our inboxes. Through this approach, Merlin Mann helps you manage your emails better without putting in too much effort. By following a regular schedule with proper time allocation for our email management, Inbox zero can free up our inboxes and our mental space. 

Benefits of the inbox zero approach

Inbox Zero Approach

The Inbox zero approach can benefit us in various ways. All the benefits and goals of inbox zero contribute towards us having a stress free email inbox. A handful of these goals are:

1. Get out of your inbox with the inbox zero approach

We are usually stuck into our inboxes, replying to every email as it enters our inbox. The minute we reply to one, another one pops right up, binding us down into our emails. When we are not replying to emails, we are managing them, trying to make sense out of the whole mess of emails. This prevents us from devoting our precious time to things other than our emails.

The Inbox zero approach helps you schedule out time for your email management services. Thus you also make sure that you devote only a part of your workday to your inbox. The less time you spend in your inbox, the more time you have for other more important things. The Inbox zero approach helps you make time, where you had none.

2. Focus better

Email management has now become yet another task for us to take care of. This task is just as stressful as the others and often takes more time than any other tasks. This divides our attention amongst all our existing tasks, making it difficult to focus on any of our tasks well. The more tasks we have at our disposal, the more difficult it becomes to do justice to all the tasks. 

With the Inbox zero approach, email management ceases to be a heavy task. Email management is broken down into smaller tasks throughout the day thus making it much easier to remain stress free. Now that managing your emails is a work out of sight, you can focus on your tasks better and deliver better results.

3. Reduce distractions with the inbox zero approach

The constant ping of email notifications serves as a distraction to every task we perform. The hope for any focused work is all lost once we give in to this distraction. This is the reason that methods like deep work recommend shutting down all notifications on our devices for a better quality of work. But as distracting as these notifications are, they do serve a purpose in case of urgent emails. Inbox zero and Mailman have a solution for that.

Mailman is considered the best email management tool for this very feature. This feature, called the VIP list, allows only the urgent and important emails to disturb your focus. These emails can bypass all settings to reach your attention. Thus this approach by Mailman combines the basis of the Inbox Zero Approach to help reduce all distractions.

4. Increase productivity levels

The reduced focus and heightened distractions resulting from too many emails has an impact on our productivity levels. With lowered productivity, reduced time efficiency is also seen. This affects our overall performance. Along with this are the increased stress and anxiety levels that the additional task of email management has.

The Inbox Zero Approach takes care of the distractions and allows us to focus better on the task at hand. This significantly improves the quality of work that we deliver. As we now perform with lesser distractions and hence waste less time, inbox zero also makes us more time-efficient. Putting these time management strategies to practice allows us to spend more time doing things that we love.    

Use the inbox zero approach!

The Inbox zero approach is the one thing we need for better email management. Getting better at your email management also helps you to get better with time management as well as productivity. The mess of our email inbox is the only thing in our way to achieving a better work life balance. And Inbox zero is our easiest way to achieve it.

How do I zero out my inbox?

1. Delete spam folders.
2. Delete old irrelevant emails.
3. Any emails that you do not need now but do not want to delete, archive them.
4. Unsubscribe from spam and newsletters.

How do I get my Gmail inbox to zero?

1. Respond immediately to emails that require less than 2 minutes.
2. Emails that require more than 2 minutes to reply, can be filed for later.
3. Delegate emails that suit someone else better.
4. Delete or archive emails once you respond to them.

What is the most effective strategy for controlling your email inbox?

1. Schedule email processing timings.
2. Organize emails with folders, filters and labels.
3. Create inbox rules to control incoming emails.
4. Unsubscribe from newsletters.