It’s not just a buzzword. “Inbox Zero” is a way of life well worth adopting if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur.
By nature, email can feel like it gives you a level of control over your interactions with clients and customers, but if you’re finding yourself staring down the barrel of days-old accumulated messages, let’s face it: You don’t control your email, your email is controlling you.
Ouch right? Never fear, Inbox Zero is here. Get ready to keep your inbox empty - or almost empty - at all times. How’s it done?
Answer Immediately, then Delete or ArchiveThis isn’t just about minimalism for the sake of minimalism. This is about efficiency. Dealing with an email as soon as it comes in saves you time, because you won’t have to double back. An email not worth your time? Delete it! Think of all the wasted opportunities that can be avoided when you aren’t procrastinating and letting your client communications get slowly pushed down to page 2, or eventually page 10 of your inbox by spam, pointless correspondence or emails you haven’t made time to respond to right away. Hoarding emails is a habit of disorganization.
Some of you may be thinking, HEY! Wait! I can’t run my business if I’m answering emails every second of the day! Nobody is advocating for you to start living in a climate of interruption. On the contrary, our next tip is to...
Stop Checking Email All DayPick a specific time (or times) to check email, and don’t deviate from your schedule. For decades, psychologists and neurologists have been espousing that technology like email can be as addictive as slot machines, and it’s been proven that you get a little hit of dopamine every time you check your phone. Considering that 55% of the world’s email is opened on mobile, you’re actually getting a little bit high by constantly refreshing your inbox.
Set specific times during the day when you’ll check (and immediately answer) your emails. This will help keep you productive as well, because you will be able to keep your focus on your tasks at hand, and when appropriate, face your inbox with intent.
Oh and by the way...
Ditch Folders ForeverEver since email came on the scene there have been built in tools to manage the mighty Inbox. Unfortunately, a lot of the tools designed for digital mail mimicked what hardcopy mail used to require - sorting, filing, and storing for future reference. For example, once considered a necessity, features like folders are no longer relevant for single user email accounts, thanks to robust search tools built into every email platform on earth.
Save time - don’t sort. Since you’re already slicing and dicing your emails as soon as they come in, unless you’re sharing an email account in your business with others there simply isn’t a need to waste your valuable time sorting your online correspondence when you can execute immediate searches on your entire archive.
You may find it hard to stick to these three steps in the beginning, especially if you have been building up years of bad email habits. The reward for sticking through? An inbox that is either empty, or only full of relevant emails at all times, and a business acumen that makes you highly communicative with your clients.
Have you got any other tips for keeping your inbox clear?
Let us know at Collab Space!