How Your Business Can Reach Inbox Zero
In particular, you probably find your inbox chock-full of emails as the day comes to an end. If you’re somebody who finds a full inbox to be overwhelming, you might find that incorporating Inbox Zero into your daily routine can provide you with a fresh start.
In this post, we’ll explain what Inbox Zero is and will provide tips to help you stay organized and increase productivity in your day. Let’s get started!
What Is Inbox Zero?
Inbox Zero is an email management approach that aims to keep your inbox empty, or almost empty, at all times. Developed by productivity expert, Merlin Mann, the Inbox Zero method preaches that all emails in your inbox deserve action. The possible actions are to delete, delegate, respond, defer, or do something else with the message. This will help keep the number of messages in your inbox under control and avoid email overload.
How to Achieve Inbox Zero
Delete, delete, delete. When using the Inbox Zero approach, your first course of action should be to determine the types of email you received. Delete emails that lead to clutter, such as junk and spam. For the emails that require no immediate action, consider tucking them away in the archive folder. Once you’re done deleting and archiving, shift your focus to sorting and organizing the remaining emails.
1. Create Folders
Creating folders can help reduce the likelihood of an email build-up in your inbox. Customize folders as you like, just make sure the system you create helps make your day-to-day more efficient. Consider creating the folder ideas below to get started:
- Need Action: Store all the emails that can be addressed later but will take over two minutes to respond in this folder.
- Waiting: To avoid inbox clutter, drop the emails that require no current action in this folder.
- Archive: You can use an archive folder to house emails you’ll need later, such as a receipt or plane ticket.
- Delegated: This is where you can store emails that have been delegated to your peers.
2. Set Up Filters
Once you create your folders, it may be beneficial to create filters so that your emails go straight into the folder they belong in. This could save you even more time by cutting out the sorting process.
3. Never Touch Twice
Once you open an email, tackle it. Putting an email aside requires you to read and process it again, which can lead to wasted time. If you can answer the message in under two minutes, try to respond right away.
4. Less is More
Emails are often meant to be a quick form of communication. When responding to an email, only include what’s necessary. Always ask yourself if you can say something in less words and still get the same point across. Bullet points are a great way to save both you and the recipient time.
5. Check Your Email Throughout the Day
Growing your business requires significant time and effort, but you should still try to check your inbox throughout the day. This can not only help you stay on top of important emails, but you can also avoid having your inbox get too full by eliminating all unread emails.
6. Try Boomerang
If you know you have a hectic afternoon and may not be able to keep your amount of emails under control, you may want to download the Gmail plugin, Boomerang.
Boomerang allows you to temporarily pause your incoming mail to avoid clutter. Once the extension is added, you can play around with the different “Inbox Pause” settings that are available. If you’re waiting for an urgent email, you can filter so that only that email will come through. Boomerang also allows you to schedule emails to serve as an auto-response for those times when your inbox is paused.
7. Set Up A Target Number
Although the goal is to end each day with zero emails, it may be hard to attain at times. Set a goal number that you’d be satisfied having hit at the end of a busy day.
Are You Ready to Try Inbox Zero?
Your inbox plays a pivotal role in a business owner’s day-to-day operations. Implementing the Inbox Zero method into your routine can help you stay organized and on top of your emails, so that you can spend more time on other tasks.
If you use the Inbox Zero method, tell us about your experience in the comment section below!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.