5 tips to achieve Inbox Zero
Manage your e-mail better: for all you out there that have inboxes with 1000’s of unread e-mails.
I know that many of you might struggle to deal with the e-mail load – but worry not – help is on its way!
Using these simple tips, for the second time in my career, I’ve managed to reach Inbox Zero. Conveniently this was a day before breaking off for Christmas 🙂
1. Unsubscribe from all the spam
We all get an absolute shedload of e-mail that we don’t ever read. So why receive it at all? Almost all of the e-mails you receive have an “Unsubscribe” link somewhere at the bottom so spend some valuable time unsubscribing & prevent your inbox cluttering up.
How do I find all of the emails I can unsubscribe from?
Simple! Search your entire mailbox for the word “Unsubscribe” and voila!
2. Create Rules
Do you receive a lot of automated e-mails from things like monitoring systems or distribution groups? Learn how to use rules, to either direct them to a different folder, discard them or whatever else you want to do with them.
Filter your CC’s.
You might have heard of what I refer to as the “CC” culture. In short, it’s when everyone gets CC’d on everything. Annoying right? The most annoying I find are e-mails such as “CC’ing such and such” or “Please remove me from the thread” and then there are these never-ending threads with as many as 40 people in To: and CC: fields. That’s Madness!
Well, you can’t change everyone, but you can change yourself!
Use CC for what it’s designed for which is something you should be aware of but not something you should take action on.
So do three things:
A. Think twice before CCing someone
B. Use Rules to Filter the CC’s so they go to a different folder and read at your leisure
C. Stop using Reply-to-all
3. Stop the chatter
E-mail is not the tool to use as a chatroom. Use an IM platform for it – Skype (for Business), Google Hangouts or even a WhatsApp group.
Have you tried WhatsApp Web? Give it a go! https://web.whatsapp.com/
Need something more corporate? Talk to us!
4. Be selective at what you receive on the go
Synchronising all your e-mails to your smartphone is insane. Now that you’re using the rules and e-mails are in the right folders, synchronise only the folders with content that really matters to you while you’re out of the office!
CC’s folder? – That can wait!
Automated notifications? – That can wait!
Inbox – OK, that I should be made aware of.
If you’re like me and have only one device, not a corporate one and a personal one – you’d be so annoyed receiving even the standard Inbox e-mails during your holiday. I’m sure they can really wait until you’re back.
Filter it all!
During holiday receive only what is sent to you and with high priority! Let the rest go to another folder (I call mine ##HOL). Helps even better if you let your colleagues know as well, for example in your Out of Office auto-reply.
What Happens? Your colleague sends you an e-mail while you’re on holiday, he gets an auto-reply that you only receive high priority e-mails. That means they’ll have to think twice before e-mailing you with that red exclamation mark. (Is it really that important and can’t wait?)
Result? An opportunity to actually switch off and get some work-life balance. 🙂
If you do, however, momentarily feel workaholic – just browse to your HOL folder from your phone.
5. Done with the e-mail? File it! Archive it! or Delete it!
Don’t keep loads of junk in your inbox. Keep only what needs your attention or action – basically a to-do list.
Here’s how it works:
a. Received an e-mail? Read it!
b. Does it need you to action?
Do you need to keep it?
1. No = Delete it – you won’t miss it!
2. Yes = archive it away or put it in a dedicated folder
Flag it, Pin it do whatever you need to do to mark it as “Action needed”
c. Then read the next one (in case it’s more important)
You basically should end up with a list of flagged e-mails that you can action either now or later.
Once you’re done – un-flag it and again – delete it, file it or archive it! Be ruthless – 99.99% of the time you won’t need that e-mail again anyway!
Using Google Mail?
Have you tried Inbox? Give it a go! https://inbox.google.com/ – You’ll never look back at gmail.com again!
By Stefan Bagiensky
Chief Technology Officer