If you struggle with managing your Inbox, this BWTG is for you. Believe it or not it is possible to end each day with ZERO messages in your inbox.
Pick the right email system - It's important to pick the right email management system that will work for you ... long term.
- Determine which email client you are going to live with. You only want to pick this once as moving all those emails is almost impossible without a huge loss in productivity.
- Make sure you select an email solution that will let you backup your emails and associated data.
- Consider if you want to use a system that will be available "in the cloud". This will allow access to your important emails wherever you are. Live Mail, Gmail and Yahoo Mail all allow cloud access as well as connecting to a local client application like Outlook or Thunderbird.
Pick the right email productivity system - Once you have the right email tool, you need to overlay it with the correct productivity process or methodology that will help you weed through all your emails with ease.
- Pick a productivity system that works for you. Getting Things Done, Zero Email Bounce, Inbox 0.5, or DIT.
- Follow every step to the letter (at least at first) for 2 months. This will allow you to determine if it's right for you and why the systems have worked for others.
- Customize the system to fit your needs and the way you want to work most efficiently. No system is perfect right out of the box. Don't weigh yourself done with unnecessary steps if they don't make you more efficient.
Remember the basic steps of getting your inbox to zero - There are some very basic steps everyone needs to be rigorous about to keep the inbox at zero messages.
- Check email no more than four times a day and make sure that at the end of each "session" the inbox is empty. This requires that you determine a course of action for each email (i.e. file it for reference, delete it, respond to it, delegate it, assign it an action item for later, assign it a time to deal with it on your calendar)
- Set aside dedicated time each week to review all emails, tasks and calendar items and determine if you need to address any of them by adding an action item, calendar item or removal.
- Don't let managing the system take more time than doing the work!