Emails. Emails. And more emails. They just never stop coming, do they? I often feel like the hardest part of my job is keeping up with all the emails. It can become so overwhelming! And I know many of you have the same issue, whether you receive a few emails a day or over 100, it can be hard to stay on top of them when you're doing so many other things at once. So what's the cure?
Inbox Zero is an "action-based email" system that'll help you conquer all your email woes. It's main mission is to ensure that you end your day, everyday, with zero items in your inbox. Zero as in go to bed feeling productive, sleep easy and have a better day tomorrow kind of zero. Can you imagine?
And it does work. At one point, I had over 3000 emails in my inbox (amassed over months.) These were not all unread, un-responded to emails, but many of them were. Most of them were just sitting there, collecting dust, reminding me of all the people I did not answer and things I did not do, making me feel like a pathetic business person at best... and meanwhile, more and more emails just kept. coming. in.
So one day I decided to take back my inbox and get on the path to productivity. I took the 43folders' inbox zero approach to my email and within a few hours, I was down to zero. And it felt darn good.
Inbox Zero will help you:
- prioritize your emails and define which ones are "actionable" (things you need to do something with) and what to do with the rest
- not be afraid to delete, delete, delete
- devise a realistic system for answering emails that doesn't take up every ounce of your precious time
- see how filters can help you organize and get thru your inbox faster (I now have my blog comments, mailing lists, twitter and flickr mail and stats all filtered into their own folders that bypass my inbox completely- it helps a lot!)
- stay on top of your inbox for the long haul
I originally got down to zero in mid-February and had a good couple months of ending each day that way. But I must say, I'm falling off the wagon and feeling overwhelmed by my inbox at the moment... I currently have 124 emails in there and most all of them are ones that I actually need to do something with (or are they?) Needless to say, it's a good time to give myself a refresher to get back on track and I thought I'd introduce it to you all too.
So, here is the Inbox Zero action series on 43Folders. Check out all the articles (linked to some specific ones above) to start whittling your email inbox down to size.
Or, just sit back and watch this 1hr long video from Merlin Mann, creator of 43Folders, talking to google employees about how to implement his inbox zero approach (feed readers-hop over to see it.)
Last time, I just played this video in a separate window and started hacking away through my inbox while listening (*listening yes- it's not very visually entertaining, don't let that deter you from getting the info tho!) By the time the video was done, my inbox was half the size it used to be and I had a plan to conquer the rest of it. It's what I'll be doing this afternoon too, so if you've been expecting an email response from me, it's coming soon! Promise!
Good luck to you all- we'll conquer those inboxes yet! ;)