In my great job, searching for things that folks want to read, once in a while I come across an item that has the potential to fundamentally change the way I work. This is such an item.
Everyone knows email is a big time-suck, the kind that can easily eat up your life, even if you aren’t one of those who receive 250 emails a day (you know who you are and you need to seek help).
And granted, this isn’t the newest thing out there, but these 5 little steps adapted from Merlin Mann at 43Folders.com have been a huge help in reducing the amount of daily time I spend in Outlook. (If you want to watch his entire talk at Google, it’s here too)
5 Secrets to “Inbox Zero”
- Turn off your email. Don’t leave it open. Turn off new mail alerts.
- Check less. By increments, if you have to: once per hour for 10 min, working down to twice per work span (morning/afternoon). Manage recipient expectations by never responding too quickly or too verbosely.
- Use filters. Have news (aka “high noise” data) automatically sent to a “research” folder and set a reminder to check it once every few days or once per week, depending on its urgency. Eliminate needless news by using Google news alerts to keep it specific.
- When you check email, decide an action. Respond, forward, archive, or delete. If it involves a task, do it, defer it (add to calendar), or delegate it. Then delete it. Never use email as an archive of future tasks.
- Self-check regularly. Are you processing efficiently and paying less attention to email?