A bit less than 10 years ago I posted about “Inbox Zero“. Though for as long as I’ve known the concept, I’ve been an avid fan/believer of it. Over the course of the years, I’ve evangelized about the concept to many, where a lot of people typically asked me : “Isn’t that really time-consuming?!?”. My answer has always been ; “It is a habit… And indeed, you invest a bit of time into it, though the gains of not having to pick up the same email(s) over and over again is where you easily win!”.
The basic premise of Inbox Zero is that your inbox is at all times.. EMPTY!
For a lot of people this seems impossible to achieve, though you realize this by going though the following flow for each mails that comes in… at the time it comes in. So yes, you “immediately” (as in the moment you open your mailbox) process all new mails. How do you do that, by the following rule set…
- Do I/we need to care?
- No, Delete.
- Yes. Great! Is the mail something I should do?
- No, Delegate (forward).
- Yes. Interesting! Can I reply in less than 2-3 minutes?
- Yes, Respond (reply).
- No, Defer (flag for follow-up). => And schedule times to where you’ll focus on burning through your “backlog” (read: deferred mails), so Do.
That sounds quite simple to do? So why don’t we all do it?!? From what I’ve seen, it starts with not knowing / being taught the system. And on the other had, it also requires a given level of discipline / organization to achieve it. Though in my mind, it can be accomplished by all if you are just given a bit of practical guidance. That’s what we’ll be talking about today!