Keeping the Inbox Clear with Inbox Zero

How many of us in the working world can't say that we haven't had that moment when you look at your inbox and it tells you that there are one hundred unread emails waiting there for you? Most of us look at that number and quickly dismiss it as something that we will do later, but by doing so you might miss that one key email in the haystack which you needed to look at. So to remedy this, we can start picking up the Inbox Zero method of email organization, first promoted by 43 Folders.

This idea of keeping the inbox clear or almost clear by Merlin Mann has a few basic tasks that can make this a possibility, those few being:

Delete

If there is an email that is unnecessary say spam or information that isn't critical or a priority, then you can go ahead and delete it to make room for the more important emails and to prevent clutter.

Delegate

If you have peers or subordinates or even superiors who might be able to answer an email better and more accurately than you, then don't be afraid to send it their way and ask them to take care of it so that it's A) Out of your hands and B) Getting done properly.

Respond

If you have an email in your inbox that you can look at and you know that a response wouldn't take you more than 3 minutes, then simply do It and get it out of the inbox. Send a response and then delete the email so that the dead clutter that it would leave behind is gone.

Defer

Some emails are going to take a bit more time and effort on your part than you can get done in a few minutes. If that is the case ten set aside the longer and more difficult emails to a folder that you will take care of at some point in the day when you have the time. Maybe set it so that you put a little time away to get the big emails done for an hour or do it at the end of each hour.

Get it Done

Probably the hardest part of course is putting all of this in action. Yes, it  will be tedious at first, but the gains are what makes it worth wild. There will be no more surfing through tides of emails to find that one special one you need. It's all a matter of taking the time to get it done. Be sure to set time away for yourself so that you can answer the big emails and do clutter maintenance often.

By putting all of these pieces into play, you can easily turn an inbox that would be flooded and confusing into an easy and streamlined railway for emails to come in and quickly leave or be stationed for later. It makes life easier and it makes getting the job done easier as well.