I have heard some colleagues speak about Inbox Zero, and this is exactly what I accomplished before I left the office on Friday.
What is it? Inbox Zero is a strategy to end the day with nothing in my inbox. Not a single email. Nothing read (those should be either deleted or filed) and nothing unread. Empty. Clean. Ready for Monday. A new start. No longer overwhelmed. Not lost in data. Caught up. Free.
Got the picture?
When Monday morning at the office comes, I will start up Outlook and know that anything that arrives from Friday night to Monday morning will be new and need attending. As this was a major accomplishment for me, I will struggle to remain caught up.
There is a great slideshow that demonstrates this, and I liked the five immediate options for handling email (delete, delegate, respond, defer, do) that Merlin Mann developed, all of which get it out of the Inbox. Hopefully having those references here will better help others process the sheer quantity of stuff we get bombarded with every day.
One thing I learned along the way is that while some email has information in it I need for upcoming tasks, I still file those in folders using keywords and then put tasks on my calendar to complete the items later. I don’t forget them, and have things organized for future reference. I then know where to find the filed information without having it taking up space and needing to be constantly re-read in the Inbox.
Next step is to bring this to my home Inbox, which is pretty clean already, but another hour or so, and it should also be Inbox Zero.