A bunch of new unread emails constantly appearing in the email inbox will make almost anyone stressed. If you have many business partners and colleagues with whom you interact by correspondence, you just need to keep your inbox clean and tidy, as it will help you be more productive and never miss important messages.
What are the most important advantages that you receive with Zero Inbox:
- You won’t miss an important message if your inbox is empty.
- You will not make your contacts wait too long, because you can immediately respond to their letters.
- Hundreds and thousands of unread messages will not accumulate in your mailbox.
- You will save more time on the really important tasks, instead of email management.
To reach Inbox Zero you need to follow these steps:
- Empty your mailbox. So, with the Inbox Zero method, you need to act decisively. Open “Inbox”, select all the messages that have accumulated there and archive them all at once. Most of them you probably won’t ever open again, but deleting all of them from the start can be careless. In case you don’t want to manage your incoming messages manually, you can make use of an email cleaner app to set up rules and filters to organize messages automatically.
- Process your letters in chronological order. To develop this healthy habit, you need a certain amount of discipline. As you process your emails, start with the oldest messages and work your way up to the newest. This way you will keep chronological order and will not get confused. If you are a Gmail user, you can turn on the Auto Switch feature. Now, when replying or archiving an email, Gmail will not return you to the inbox, but will display the next email. This way you will be able to process letters one by one in the order they were received, without any distractions.
- Archive the answered messages. The main rule of the Inbox Zero method is that your inbox is not the place to store your mail. All emails in the inbox must be processed immediately. Read them one by one and either reply and archive if the message requires a response, or simply archive if the message does not require any action from your side. Or delete it if you know you do not need it for sure. If you can’t immediately respond to a message, you can set a date at some email manager app to remind you to write the answer later. If you can write the response immediately, but the person should receive it later, you can use the delayed delivery feature, which many mail service providers have.
- If the email requires an action that will take a few minutes, just do it now. Don’t copy the letter to your to-do list. Don’t leave it in your inbox. Later you will need to spend more time on finding the message, thinking of a response, and actually writing it.
- Block all unwanted senders. Most people receive unwanted emails on a daily basis as we are used to sign up to online services and websites and forget to unsubscribe from them later. Dedicate time to reviewing your subscriptions and opt out from those you no longer need. It is also recommended to check if you are not bombarded with spam messages when your email address gets to a mailing list. You can always check if the email address is valid and sent from a real user with the help of a verifier tool.
- Use keyboard shortcuts. The keyboard shortcuts significantly reduce the time spent processing emails. With them, you do not have to move the mouse cursor back and forth. For example, the E key allows you to quickly archive a message. You can simply read it, press E, and it’s archived.
- Send fewer emails. You will be surprised to know that the fewer messages you send, the fewer ones you receive. It is a good idea to reduce email overload and increase the communication level if you deliver important information using project management tools, collaboration apps, or communication software. It also becomes popular to send voice messages instead of writing long letters when it is not required.
- Delete old messages. With time you may be taking up all free space in your mailbox. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to clean up your account from time to time. You can start with deleting old messages you no longer need, especially with those that have large attachments.
- Set up filters. Email filters are an incredibly handy tool that does a lot of the work for you. You just need to configure them once, and they will save you a lot of time.
These are just some of the strategies you can use for achieving Inbox Zero. If you start with them and implement at least some of these rules, your time spent on email management will significantly decrease.