Emails are supposed to make your workplace communications easier and smoother.
However, many people end up having a cluttered inbox which they don’t have control over. Email clutter can hinder your productivity in the exact same way as a messy office does.
If you feel overwhelmed by the number of emails and want to reduce your email burden, try the Inbox Zero method.
Inbox Zero is an email management technique that strives to keep your inbox free from new, unopened email messages or as close to empty as possible.
The inventor behind the Inbox Zero philosophy, Merlin Mann says that the zero in Inbox Zero doesn’t mean that you literally have to keep your inbox empty all the time. Inbox Zero isn’t about having zero emails in your inbox, it’s about spending less time in your inbox and more time on urgent and important tasks.
Inbox Zero aims to declutter your inbox by deleting, sorting, and clearing your incoming email messages.
Let’s look at the five main actions recommended by Mann for achieving Inbox Zero:
1. Delete unnecessary emails
Delete an email message if you won’t need it in the future. If you might need to reference that email later, you can archive it. Additionally, unsubscribe from any newsletters you are no longer interested in.
2. Delegate to the correct person
If you are not the right person or the best person to deal with the email request, delegate it to the correct contact within your team. Delegation is a great way to improve efficiency and it removes the burden from your shoulders.
3. Respond to urgent emails
Respond immediately to an email if it is going to take a few minutes of your time.
4. Defer non-priority emails
If the email isn’t a priority or it requires an in-depth level of analysis from your side, move it to a folder where you can take action on it later. Consider creating an Action-Required folder for deferred emails until you can get back to them.
5. Do it now
If the email requires you to complete a task right away, do it now. You save yourself more time by completing the task immediately rather than shifting it to the deferred emails folder and then re-familiarizing yourself with the task and then taking action on it.
Five Rules of Inbox Zero Email Management
1. Some emails are more important than others
Not all emails are created equal, and you need to understand that only a handful of messages on any given day is far more important than other messages in your inbox.
2. Your time is priceless
You can’t read and respond to each and every email that lands in your inbox. Understand that your workload exceeds your resources.
3. Less can be so much more
Writing a short response to an email you received isn’t rude. In fact, you are saving the time of the person who is going to read your email.
4. Lose the guilt
An overflowing inbox isn’t your fault, and you don’t need to feel guilty about it.
5. Lying to yourself doesn’t empty an inbox
Learn to develop personal honesty about true priorities, realistic time expectations, and a baseline gut check on what you really intend to do about any given message.
How to achieve Inbox Zero in Microsoft Outlook
Tag your Emails
EmailTags for Outlook allows you to tag your emails with multiple tags and you don’t have to worry about where you filed your email. Emails can be difficult to find if you don’t know where you filed them. EmailTags solves this problem, and you can easily search for your emails based on multiple keywords.
No more lost e-mails, no more trying to figure out which folder you put it in, no time wasted searching for an e-mail.
Watch this video to learn more about EmailTags and how it helps you to save time and achieve Inbox Zero.
Feel in control of your Outlook inbox with QuickFile
It can be a hassle to organize your emails if you work with many folders and subfolders.
QuickFile helps you organize mail quicker and more sensibly. Your emails get filed away, fast and easily. And you can find them again later, fast and easily.
Watch this short video to learn more about QuickFile.
With QuickFile you can easily file your messages to the right Outlook folder with just a click of a mouse. QuickFile can be trained to learn about your filing habits and then it starts to predict where you want to file your email messages. Within a short span of training period, QuickFile can instantly file the message to the right folder with just a click.
Another great feature of QuickFile is that you can defer/snooze your emails out of your inbox until you need them. Eeminders is a feature of QuickFile that moves emails out of your Inbox and have them automatically returned at the actual date and time you want to work on them.
You can even add notes to the emails to remind yourself of the action you want to take.
If you work on multiple projects and with multiple clients, you need a filing system that can manage all those messages.
One simple tip to work with is to create an email filing system in Outlook that matches the way you file your paper documents.
Once you have that filing structure ready, QuickFile can take care of the rest.
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