I know many people are faced with the ever challenging inbox war. You know, just when you thought you’ve answered everything, another email pops in! It can be difficult + time consuming, I know … so I thought I’d share some tips from my very own INBOX ZERO policy. That’s right! I like to have everything clean/sorted/answered ( if possible ) by the end of my day. It makes me sleep better at night.
ORGANIZE : If I didn’t have folders, my life would be infinitely more chaotic. Yikes! My inbox consists of just two things. Ongoing conversations and anything unanswered. That’s it!! Receipts, bills, spam, and closed conversations that I no longer need are always immediately sorted into a folder or deleted. I actually never have more than one page of emails in my inbox. Everything else goes into it’s place to prevent chaos!
NOTIFICATIONS : Here’s the thing … with technology, we have the ability to be notified each and every time an email is sent. I get notifications on my desktop while working and my iphone will beep as well. For me, this is perfect! I’m one of those people who is able to break whenever I hear that noise and quickly sort through things. If I’m not at a breaking point, I wait an hour. No big deal. However, I know there are people out there that would go nuts always hearing that beep or being interrupted, so this part is up to you. If you get irritated with notifications going off, just get rid of them and have a scheduled part of your day where you can sort through things.
ANSWER ASAP : It’s so easy to let an email slip. If you’ve worked with me before, you know that I like to respond quick. For me, if I don’t respond or sort an email as soon as possible, it can slip away from me like THAT. But nobody is perfect and not everything can be answered right away. Clients always get first response from in my case, to keep things rolling. I then handle questions, inquiries, and casual emails as time sees fit. Usually on work breaks!
MARKINGS : This part goes along with the previous tip, actually! If I’m not able to answer an email right away, I’ve developed a system where the email remains in my inbox and is starred ( I use gmail, but other email clients have similar markings). Starred emails mean that I have yet to respond.
DON’T BE PERFECT : So at the end of the day, do I really mean that my inbox is empty? NO. Of course not! What I mean by INBOX ZERO is that by the time I turn off my computer, I have sorted emails into folders, answered as many emails as possible, and starred the rest for responding soon. Basically, I make sure I’ve cleaned up my mess from the day, that’s all! Keep up with things to the best of your ability, don’t try to be perfect, and things will shape up!