Is you Inbox full of emails that you don’t want to work on but you don’t want to delete either? Here’s a tip on how you can keep them in your Inbox and remove them at the same time. Confused? Read on.
My general strategy to Get Things Done is to only keep emails in my Inbox that I actually need to work on. However..
There are many emails in my Inbox that I know that I won’t be working on today… or even this week. I don’t want to delete them because I (maybe) will work on them someday.
Here’s a simple thing I do weekly that helps me have a clean Inbox to work from… and still keep those unurgent emails around.
I will show you two ways of doing things… a manual way and an automated way using eemnders for Outlook.
1) The Automated Way
Once a week I do a Weekly Review.
I look at the emails and decide what I will work on this week. Those emails get to stay in my Inbox. The others get moved out.
I use eeminders for Outlook to move emails out of the Inbox. I’ll show you the steps in a minute but basically…
eeminders installs inside Outlook lets me select emails to “defer” or “snooze” to a date and time of my choosing. The selected emails get moved out of your Inbox but then magically reappear on your chosen date and time.
You can use eeminders to snooze your non-urgent emails for a week using the following steps.
Go to your Inbox.
Select the emails that you want to move out (press the CTRL button to select multiple emails if you want).
Right-Click over one of the emails and then click eemind me – 1 Week.
The selected emails will get moved out of your Inbox into another folder called eeminders. A week later they come back into my Inbox.
Why I like this?
- I don’t have to think too hard and the process is FAST. It’s not like I am deleting the emails. It is easy to identify emails that I won’t be working on this week.
- The emails will come back into the Inbox so I WON’T FORGET THEM! Chances are that in next week’s weekly review, I am just going to defer them for another week but that’s OK. At least I won’t forget them.
- In case I run out of things or change my mind, I can always go to the eeminders folder and retrieve an emails that I need to work on.
2) Doing this Manually
(In case you skipped it, please read the Automated Way above first to understand the idea of the Weekly Review)
You could also do this manually by creating a folder and calling it something like Next Week. Then when you do your Weekly Review:
- Go to the Next Week folder and drag any emails that you plan to work on this week into your Inbox.
- Go to your Inbox folder and drag any emails that you do not plan to work on this week to the Next Week Folder.
My own experience (and the experience of many many Outlook users who we work with) is that the manual method requires too much will-power and discipline and after a while we stop doing it.
I have been using eeminders in this way for the last 3 months and my Inbox has been a joy 🙂 to work from.