I have been an inbox zero person for over a decade. As the years passed and I had more inboxes to wrangle I was really glad I started this process when I had maybe two emails to deal with Work and Personal.
Each weekday morning after some reading, yoga, and getting ready to start the day I turn on my laptop and open Outlook and go have coffee and breakfast. While I caffeinated and fuel myself for the day the 6 inboxes fill up and are ready for my first task of each day: Inbox Zero.
Now in many of these email accounts there are filters for emails I get but do not have to specifically read and take action on (more on that later).
Going through 1 Inbox at a time I quickly do a little triage and each email is “touched” and acted on in one of the following ways:
1 – Respond/Act – then file
2 – Schedule for completion – flag with a follow-up date then file
3- Mark for later reading – flag with a follow-up date then file
4- Delete – and possibly mark for spam
Most mornings this takes only 15 minutes, which is scheduled in my calendar (I do give myself 30 minutes on Mondays and maybe an hour after taking more than 2 workdays off)
So, then I get the happy message below:
Now that I have my Inboxes at ZERO, I work on the unread folder – this is all the emails that are automatically sorted. I would say 80% of these are easily marked as read in bulk based on the folder as they are more references and auto-generated reports. For those that need review – I simply flag with a follow update and now I have ZERO unread messages.
So now I have lots of Flagged emails so all I have to do is work through the emails that are due TODAY. If you ready my post on the 1-3-5 Rule, I typically have one of my 5 small tasks for email actions and either the Big 1 or a part of my 3 medium for work related in emails. So, these are already booked in my calendar for work time.
Next, I get myself a cup of tea and start working through my schedule with all my emails flagged with due dates, my 1-3-5 for today filled out and a block of time mid-day and at the end of the day to get back to Inbox Zero again.
#timetip turn OFF all email notifications on your computer and phone so you are only handling email during the times you need to look at email. There are many other ways to communicate urgent needs. Whether you use Teams, Slack, WhatsApp, Text or something else you can always say:
Well not beep me – but I think today Buffy would have one of these for Scoobies Communication.