Emails are a great form of communication as you can send a simple message or important documents through it. They are a part of almost everyone’s professional life. Although, they seldom increase productivity. Instead, they are known for hampering it with constant notifications and pings. So, achieving Inbox Zero is a beneficial idea.
Inbox Zero- What is it exactly?
Merlin Mann invented the idea of Inbox Zero. She is a productivity expert and writer from San Francisco. The concept of inbox zero does not refer to the number of emails in your inbox; rather it refers to the time and energy utilized while managing emails.
How to achieve your inbox to zero with the help of email management strategies?
- Assign a place for everything
Merlin says that “Once you know where stuff goes it gets a lot easier to know where to put it.” You need to categorize your emails as this is a convenient email management solution. This makes your email management process easy as you will be able to find your important folders easily.
There are a lot of ways to manage emails. Read on to find out.
- Filter the emails
Gmail has various filters which allow you to categorize your emails based on sender, size and subject. You can even take the advantage of this filter and archive emails that are not important to you, but you do not want to delete them as well.
- Prioritize your mailbox
It is really easy to get your inbox to zero as Gmail will know where to send your emails in the future. It has in built categories like Primary, Social and promotions.
- Use the Gmail Star System
Adding a star on your favored email helps you to rank important emails. It is one of the best email management tools which will help you to prioritize for later. It is important to remember that starring emails will not make them go away. So, you might want to archive some of your starred emails as well.
- Just get in to the system
Merlin feels that a lot of people check their emails regularly but seldom do anything about them. Most of us delay the email management system thinking that we will deal with it later. However, it is important to understand that pushing this task every time will not get your inbox to zero. In fact, you can check a particular email and archive it at that time only. This will save time and soon your inbox will be zero. You can sort your email management system in just three steps:
- If a particular email requires no action from your end, archive it while reading it.
- If a mail requires your brief response, then respond to it immediately and archive it.
- If a mail requires a thoughtful or lengthy response that needs some time, then schedule it for later.
- Do not waste time for delegation
If a certain mail is not your concern, then pass it on at that time only to ensure better email management. This will also help in dividing the tasks amongst the team. However, check in after delegating the mail.
- Avoid double thoughts
A pile of emails can take a lot of time to sort. Also, just the thought of sorting them after performing your immediate tasks can seem very daunting. Hence, in such a scenario you can invest in good email management software.
You might be getting a lot of emails that require a thoughtful response and thus, cannot be catered immediately. Thus, you must set a timeline of a day to respond to such emails so that you do not pile on a lot of them. This will ensure that no email sits in your inbox for more than a day.
- Let it all go
Once an email has solved its purpose, learn to delete it. You can definitely archive it if you want to hold on to it. Although, your company might have a good email management system that will get the archival in place.
- Change your perspective
Professional emails are supposed to be concise and crisp. So, while typing an email you can take help of email management software that can help you type short and to the point emails. If you want to improve your email management, then treat emails as any other messaging service and make it more professional.
Just consider your email as a form of text and think how you might compose it. Just the needed pleasantries and to the point message. This email management solution will save your time and help you achieve more. However, do not cut down on the sentences that are really important.
- Stop being repetitive
Every professional has a set of standard stock emails. You might be writing those repeatedly for work or personal affairs. It might be a document or a general introduction of yourself. In either case, you are testing yourself by wasting your time on repeated activities when it can be catered by an email management solution.
Instead, use an email software service which can help you to create templates. In this way, you will just have to send your template as a reply to certain standard emails.
- Stay on Schedule
Emails usually hamper your productivity because of the notification sound. However, it was introduced to inform you of important emails but, it does the opposite of that. So, good software to manage emails will help you to decrease these notifications.
One way of doing this is to shut off the notification sound, but again that will not be the ideal solution. A lot of studies show that switching between tasks can reduce your efficiency by 40%. Opening an email is definitely one of them.
The only way to improve is to set up an email management schedule. Set a time to cater to your emails. Do not keep on checking your inbox at random times. Certain email management software can remind you of your schedule as well.
In this way, you can turn off your email notifications completely. However, if you have certain emails that demand immediate attention, then customize the settings on your email management software and you will be good to go.
- Email management tools are useful
Your inbox is your best option. You can play around with the concepts that we just discussed. If inbox doesn’t help you, then you can look for Gmail add-ons. However, this will only work if you are using Gmail. You can explore various productivity features and lead your inbox to zero within no time.
There are a lot of email management software like Mailman that can help you to take your inbox to zero while adding on to your productivity.
Use emails to your advantage and increase your productivity with email management strategies and softwares.