7 Tips to Reach “Inbox Zero”

Image of Inbox Zero Jacket PatchEver get the sense that you’ll never conquer the volume of email in your inbox? The rapid-fire flow of information plus our bad habits equals a disaster when it comes to communication management.

Fast Company’s Rory Vaden recently put together a stellar list of strategies for reaching that mythical email nirvana known as “inbox zero.” The blissful state of zero unprocessed email messages.

We put this article, “Delete This: 7 Tips For Getting Your Inbox To Zero” on our “must read” list for the week, so don’t skip it if you’re suffering from email overload. We’ve abbreviated the article here, but you should definitely check it out.

Strategies for “Inbox Zero” include:

1. The Save Out: Instead of storing it in your inbox though, just copy and paste the entire email to a word document and file it there for safekeeping.

2. Offline Attack: Work “offline” every single time you answer emails. That way you can focus on what you are doing and you can capitalize on the synergy that comes along with getting into a rhythm of responding.

3. Extended Out of Office: Add one extra day to your “Out of Office” responder so that you legitimately have a catch-up day to get your feet back under you when you return.

4. Multiple Strings: Quickly glance at your email list for emails with the same subject line and delete the oldest ones, leaving the newer ones for you to read later. This is a quick way to process several emails all at once.

5. Email Date Night: Negotiate your family schedule to allow you one night a week (more or less as needed) where you can have a dedicated work night.

6. Scan and Flip: If it will take longer than two minutes to deal with then skip it for now and just continue scanning–get through the easy ones first. Then once you get to the bottom of your inbox (you will likely have made a large dent) “flip” your emails so that the oldest are at the top and the newest are at the bottom. Why? Because one of the biggest reasons why your inbox grows and grows is because it’s built on top of a pile of things you’ve been procrastinating on.

7. Learn the “let go”: Truly one of the most substantial growth areas for me in managing my office work was learning to let go of my own deep-rooted desire to share my opinion on everything. This mental shift in your attitude will show up pragmatically in your inbox by you learning to enjoy the delete button–without needing to share a response.

Spend ten minutes reading this article… you’ll save hours of future agony!

Delete This: 7 Tips For Getting Your Inbox To Zero


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One Response to “7 Tips to Reach “Inbox Zero””

  1. March 1, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Great tips! Especially like the “extended out-of-office” approach. Extra time-off for a breath of fresh air is indeed valuable ;-)