Do you agree that the above graphic is true? I think I’d add a third type. The person who has about 100 emails in their inbox and really really wants to get to zero, but doesn’t know how. A few years ago the idea of “inbox zero” became popular when Merlin Mann began posting ideas about how to achieve this. Now, the term has become equated with being on top of your game or with it. If that’s actually the case, I don’t know that I have been “with it” since 8th grade. However, even if you don’t actually achieve inbox zero, Merlin Mann’s posts on the 43 Folders website can be really helpful in providing some tips on how to get your email under control. I’ve started using several of them and I’ll admit that my email has become much more manageable.
Inbox zero states the goal as having an empty inbox, but I would argue that maybe the premise isn’t correct. The goal isn’t always that your inbox is empty but rather that you are making email work for you rather than being controlled by your email. That’s the goal.
The uses for this are simply that you get inbox zero, so instead I’m going to list some of the tips provided on the inbox zero blog:
- Give yourself a fresh start – create a folder and any emails older than 10 days old, drag them into that folder and then start from there.
- Create templates – think through the emails you send often (thank you emails, website links, due dates, etc.) create a template and use the template!
- Honestly ask yourself, am I ever actually going to read/answer that email? If it’s been sitting in your inbox for over a month. Probably not.
- Become ok with saying, “I don’t know.” If you are going to have to look up the answer, let the person asking the question do that.
- Use the tools your email client provides – link to your calendar, use delayed sending, create folders and smart mailboxes. All of these tools are designed to help make your email more efficient for you.
Do I plan to use it?
With the help of these tips I’m currently at inbox almost zero. I’ve managed to keep my inbox at 30 emails or less for almost a year now so I definitely think these tips can help you.
Commitment and Learning Curve
Medium, only because this requires you to be willing to change the way you approach your email.
Best for ES MS or HS?
Best for teachers.