How to achieve email Nirvana
December 2, 2012 1 Comment
I assert that it’s actually less effort to maintain your email inbox at zero than to keep any amount of mail that has been read in your inbox. It will take effort to change your habits but once you get in an inbox zero habit you will realize it is dramatically superior to your old email processing routines and that will have ripple effects across your productivity, workflow and motivation.
The reason it’s actually less effort to maintain it at zero than to maintain it at 500 is that you don’t waste energy dealing with any particular email more than once. The decision about the next action is still unmade for much of what lies in your inbox. In GTD terms it is still “stuff” – something in your world for which the action is still unclear. Every time you consciously or unconsciously notice that email again and don’t deal with it, it wastes energy.
Every single item in your inbox needs to be processed only once. If you need more than two minutes to process a specific email, you process it to your task manager. In my case that is Evernote. When I am processing email and I run across an actionable email that takes more then two minutes to deal with, I just forward it to my default Evernote address. That way it is waiting for me in my “Unprocessed” Notebook ready to be processed the next time I am processing.
This way I ensure that my inbox is always down to zero and have that inbox zero peace of mind. How do you maintain your inbox zero?