How To Get Inbox Zero
Ah, inbox zero. A buzzword used amongst many entrepreneurs.
I was the worst when it came to email. For so long, things would get lost; there would be things that I would miss, it was a total mess.
Then I got better, but then the next issue I had was that emails became a very time-consuming process for me. Sifting through the not important and the important. Trying to action points and fit them into my schedule, trying to identify what needed to be actioned and completed first.
It was a headache.
So I devised a process that would reduce emails, keep me focussed and would stop me spending time on emails that did not improve my life or that were business related.
And today I am going to share that very process with you. So, let's go!
First things first, let's get things cleared up.
If you do not cleanse your inbox first, you will always be getting junk that you do not need. So, first of all, I used unroll.me to go through my subscriptions and determine what emails I would like to continue being subscribed to and which ones I didn't.
I categorised email subscriptions into one of the following:
Emails that I unsubscribed from
Emails that I wanted to remain in my inbox
Emails that I wanted in my 'Roll up' a daily email from unroll.me showing me the highlights of my subscriptions
Next, enter folders.
The Basic Email Folders
You want to have a clear, functional way to deal with emails when they come in. Gmail is great for categorising emails into primary, updates, promotions, and social. It will automatically put the specific emails into the right folder.
Here is what you can expect:
Primary: emails from contacts.
Updates: emails from software.
Promotions: email subscriptions.
Social: emails from social networking communities.
My Additional Folders/ Actions
But then I decided to take it to the next level.
Emails that were left in my primary folder were then actioned/subcategorised.
So, when an email comes through I do one of the following things:
- Clear it from my inbox, this email is no longer needed and has no purpose.
- Add it to my to-do-list, this email is added to the action folder.
- Assign it to another colleague to deal with, this email is forwarded to my colleague immediately or shared in Slack
- Mark it as low priority; this email is not something that requires immediate attention
This then leaves me with a primary inbox, that is organised. I know what I need to do, I can focus on what is important, and I can share and delegate to the team.
Finally setting a time.
Previously, I found myself dipping in and out of my emails and then avoiding them. Set a time to visit your inbox every day and go through your emails in a batch. After getting rid of any unwanted subscriptions and separating what is low priority and what is a high priority, it should not take you long to go through and action what is important.
I hope my journey to Inbox zero will help you get some piece of mind with your own email inbox. The most important thing is not to get overwhelmed! Take a breath and proceed. Good luck!
About the author
Chloe Slade is the Marketing Manager here at Cone and focuses on creating content that brings business and lifestyle together. Chloe is keen makeup lover, foodie and loves to work from luxurous destinations.