Recently, I started practicing zero inbox. I didn’t read any specific how-to articles or books, I just implemented it based on these two principles:
- DON’T USE YOUR EMAIL AS A TO DO LIST.
- MESSAGES: DELETE, ARCHIVE, OR DEAL WITH THEM.
A quick search for “zero inbox” turned up this article and a 2007 Google TechTalks video on YouTube featuring Merlin Mann:
Merlin’s approach is a more nuanced (and probably more efficient) than mine. My approach is simpler:
- I CHECK EMAIL between tasks and scheduled work periods.
- I DELETE messages that have no informational value.
- I ARCHIVE messages that seem to have some informational value. If the topic comes up in the future, I can search for it.
- I DEAL WITH IT by replying to the message, adding a task to my to do list, and archiving the message. The to do task is linked to the archived email message.
This system works for me. It reduces my stress, mess, and effort.