Think about it, why do you need such thing as Inbox Zero? You already have enough work load, responsibilities, work out of balance, stress and lack of enthusiasm. You don’t need another pressure, another responsibility, something more to worry about. You are right, actually you should go to your email right now and select and delete all; even better create a filter that delete any new email that arrives, and voila from now on, you will always have inbox zero! The great news with this is that in certain companies you will not even receive your pink slip as they will send it to you via email.
Now that you and I vent a little, lets go back to why and how get to Inbox Zero. I also wish that my inbox sometimes get cleaned and purged by it self, but it doesn’t. Regardless how much you don’t like it, controlling and managing your inbox is part of your responsibilities, part of what it is expected that you need to do for work.
Try to avoid go into email just to see ifs something arrives. It is ok, to get into email for the next 10 minutes because it is the free time i have, but make sure that if you open any email, don’t leave it there without any action.
The only way to clean email is to go one by one, and sometimes stop and think. We read the email sometimes so quick, looking for stuff that can explode in our hands that don’t stop to identify those things that came into our hands that are basically time bombs, that in many cases if we stop for a second and think for another two, will get out of the way for good.
My favorite device to check email is the iPhone, I get headsets, music and go one by one. No, I can’t solve everything in the iPhone, but I can solve more issues that what I am consciously aware of, and the background music make the process much more nicer.
Email is a necessary evil, and it is true that you don’t need to have it on zero in order to move forward. The difference comes in how much mental space you need to be calm and relax. There is people that have the ability to go weeks, months without ever reaching zero. There is people that will never see zero. I work with an Account Manager once, that he never clean is inbox. At the end of the day he select all and archive it. His theory was that it was important people will email again. Every time I need anything from him, I sent him the same email every 30 minutes. I got asked more than once, how I was always getting my stuff done with this person. I simply discover a system that works. Emailing him every 30 minutes guarantee that he will get at least one of my emails.
The reality is that for the majority of us that it is a luxury we don’t have, that we can’t afford. The trick for my email zero success had been music, get for whatever time you have, headphones in hand and clean the inbox, every day, multiple times a day. I have 3 thirty minutes block in my calendar, just to clean email. You will think: HOUR AN A HALF… I DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF TIME and it is true. What you don’t see, is that it is that kind of time that allow me to avoid the fires and emergencies that consume most of my old days, and also not every time I require the half an hour, sometimes in ten minutes I am out. (Others I stay until the song ends)
I like to move fast, to be relaxed, in order to work better and it is because of that reason that I have incorporate systems and tricks in my daily life that allow me to move fast and with the least amount of friction possible. An Inbox full it is simply one of those things that create a heavy friction on my system.
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