Productivity Tips to Achieve Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero

Your inbox is the ultimate benchmark of your productivity. It is an extension of autonomy. It helps regain control by compulsively taking care of emails that trickle into your inbox. Unquestionably, the pursuit of productivity lies in Inbox Zero – getting your inbox to zero messages? Now, to sum it up, it’s a mythical achievement. Because, the real discomfort lies in black-bolded over 1,000 unread emails in the junkyard of an inbox that makes our mind feel cluttered and keeps us away from clearing them out. As time passes by, these emails pile up and bury important ones and that means, there is more and more work to be taken care of.

Still, every email you receive is either something important that you need to take action on immediately or later, or refer to later. You are required to follow the basic principle: delete, delegate, or refer to later. But then again, even the most basic of interruptions such as rustling up a quick response to an email can make us take as long as half an hour to reorient back to whatever task we were originally doing. These internal interruptions have become so frequent that some of us adopt the illusionary practice of “fake inbox zero” where one quickly reads the incoming message and archives it in a To Do folder, thereby creating a fake sense of fulfilment.

Here is a short list of great tips that work when it comes to email management.

TIP #1 CATEGORIZE USING LABELS & FILTERS

Start by categorizing your emails. Here’s a way of categorizing the avalanche of emails you receive:

  1. Emails that generally require thoughtfully written, meaningful replies.
  2. Random, not overly important emails.
  3. Messages from strangers or emails that you’re rather not answer to.

A majority of incoming messages don’t require immediate action, so one can address them later without being distracted. But, there are also going to be urgent emails that need same-day response. If an email is sent to you and you need some more time to execute, and are not completely sure about your schedule, or simply don’t have the time to do it, you need to let this person know as soon as it is possible.

You can also categorize your emails by color coding to identify specific messages – Yellow for To Do, Red for highly important, Orange for upcoming events, Yellow for emails waiting reply, Green for emails delegated to someone else.

Categorizing and filtering may seem like a great accomplishment, but it isn’t, not if you never look inside your new folders. Make it a habit to look at the contents of all your folders at least once a day.

TIP #2 DELETE

If you’re at a point in your life, where something a trivial as a flood of emails is becoming a significant source of stress, you need to learn to delete, unsubscribe, and archive: ruthlessly. Not all emails in your inbox are meant to be answered. There’s a chance that a significantly large number of emails in your inbox are “strings”, i.e. more than dozen will carry the same conversation due to a large number of people using the “reply all” button. The conversations button in Outlook consolidates emails that share the same subject line. Start using it.

If you don’t have the necessary tools available, you can put a search for emails with the same subject line and delete the oldest ones. This is one of the fastest ways to process several emails at once.

TIP #3 RESPOND IMMEDIATELY

If you want to keep the number of emails in your inbox to the bare minimum, respond immediately or archive it, depending on whether you want it for future reference. If you are unable to respond immediately, you can put it away in your follow-up folder and deal with it later on when you get a chance.

TIP #4 FLAGGED FOR ACTION LATER

Dedicate at least 20 to 45 minutes of scheduled time a day to go through all emails in your inbox and reply or take the necessary action right then. There are going to be some emails that need to be written considerately. This is the time when you can that ample amount of time on your hands and send out considerate replies. There are also going to be several emails that need you to pick up your phone finish the job in two minutes for something that could take more than five emails to get things done. Do it.

While these tips to for Inbox Zero may not work for you exactly as it does for several industry leaders, we hope you’re able to tweak it and make it your own.

Avatar
Anna Domanska
Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing wide-range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

Recent Posts

M&As to leverage AI and deep learning post-Covid

M&As to leverage AI and deep learning post-Covid

In a post-COVID-19 world, the role of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) will be redefined. Companies striving to defend their existing markets and accelerate recovery are looking
18 hours ago
Ryanair posts 1 billion euro annual loss

Ryanair posts 1 billion euro annual loss

Europe’s largest budget airline Ryanair Holdings Plc. has reported a better-than-expected annual post-tax loss of €815m as passenger numbers slumped by 81% to just 27.5 million
20 hours ago
IRS and Justice Department investigating crypto exchange Binance

IRS and Justice Department investigating crypto exchange Binance

The US authorities are concerned that cryptocurrencies are being used for illegal transactions, especially on the dark web. Another concern is that Americans who have made fortunes
1 day ago
Hyundai commits $7.4 billion in US investment by 2025

Hyundai commits $7.4 billion in US investment by 2025

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co., announced on Thursday it will soon start manufacturing electric vehicles in the United States. The automaker plans to produce EVs, upgrade produc
4 days ago
US inflation report of 4.2 percent raises concerns

US inflation report of 4.2 percent raises concerns

The US reported the highest inflation recorded in the last dozen years at 4.2 percent in April, riding on government stimulus packages, improved energy prices, better spending and
4 days ago
Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson have agreed to sell $3.6 billion worth of assets to rival Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a bid to appease European competition regulators over th
5 days ago