Email is a cornerstone of everyone’s life. You get business mail, newsletters, coupons, emails from friends, family, and acquaintances. Now, with smartphones, all of it is in the palm of your hand, ready to read at a moment’s notice.
It’s easy for your inbox to get out of control. You don’t want to be out of the loop, so you ask to be CC’d on the important stuff. Before long, you have an overfull inbox.
Like most people, you depend on email to do your work and manage other aspects of your life. So how can you cut the clutter? I will share a few tactics I use.
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How to get to inbox 0
I live by the motto: “If everything is important, then nothing is important.”
What does that mean?
It means you have to prioritize.
Some things are more important than others. Try to give everything attention, and you will miss truly important stuff.
If you often respond with “I must have missed that!” or “Can you email that to me again, so I can have it at the top of my inbox?”, you’re probably not doing enough prioritizing.The best thing you can do is to start deleting emails. But how do you figure out which ones?
Again, let’s go back to our priorities. As I see it, emails usually belong to one of two flavors: useful for a short time or useful for a long time.
Useful for a short time
These emails are items you can act on right away and then never look at again. For example, a reminder to pay your Mastercard bill. You pay it, and you are done forever. Delete the reminder email.
Useful for a long time
These emails might have information about project details, directions, meeting notes for a future project, or even login details. They contain valuable info that you will refer back to constantly or as needed. In other words, you will need them again before long. Save them in your folder system and get them out of your inbox.
Why should you delete emails? Why not save everything?
Think of most of your emails as being like birthday cards. They’re nice to have for a while, but eventually, it’s time to let go. Each email you save takes up space. More clutter makes it harder to find the item you want.
These unimportant emails may have subject lines similar to the important one you’re looking for – making it time-consuming to find the email you want.So, handle and delete the emails with no long-term value. In a future post, I’ll cover some additional tactics to get you to inbox zero.