Inbox zero. One of the most highly sought-after aspects of the productivity world. Inbox zero is when you don’t have any emails pestering you waiting for a reply. When you achieve it, it’s freeing, but getting there can feel close to impossible.
To help you reach this productivity pinnacle, here are five things you can do today to finally achieve inbox zero.
1. Unsubscribe Relentlessly
There’s something so final about hitting the unsubscribe button. There’s also something so liberating about it.
Although you originally signed up for an email list (perhaps for a coupon or ebook), you might have stopped reading the subsequent emails. That happens more often than not and when it does, it’s time to unsubscribe.
Don’t worry about hurt feelings. Don’t get sucked into the fear of missing out on something. Get relentless with who you let into your inbox.
2. Get Used to Hitting Delete
Now, look at the emails that are already taking up space in your inbox. Which ones do you really need? Which ones can you do without?
The delete button becomes your friend as you head to inbox zero. Get comfortable hitting delete on any email that you know you don’t need. If you’re waffling between whether or not to keep an email in your inbox, delete it.
3. Sort Emails Based on Projects
Next, it’s time to organize the remaining emails that didn’t make the cut to get deleted.
Create labels for each project or client you’re working on or with. Then, start sifting through each email and sending it to the appropriate location. Organizing your email will make it easier to find at a later date and help you compartmentalize each area of your business.
4. Use Apps to Eliminate Email Overwhelm
Too often, tasks are done via email that don’t need to be done via email. There are apps for almost everything in our lives these days. The more you can leave your correspondence to apps, the better.
Train your team to use apps to make requests and changes. For example, if a person needs time off for something, train them to make their request via your online scheduling app instead of in your inbox. It’ll clear out a lot of clutter leaving you to focus on the important tasks at hand.
5. Switch Quick Conversations to Chatbots
Have you ever received a one word email? Maybe it said “thank you.” Maybe it said “okay” to confirm receipt. Regardless, one word (or one sentence) responses aren’t worthy of email. They’re better suited for a chatbot, such as Slack or GroupMe.
Start using chatbots to migrate this type of communication to a more appropriate location, taking away more clutter from your inbox.
Are You At Inbox Zero Yet?
The only thing that should be left in your inbox is something that requires your response. After you’ve cleared out everything from your inbox, start filtering through what needs your response. If you can respond right away, do it and move it. Keep chipping away. Soon, you’ll get there and when you do, you’ll breathe a deep sigh of relief knowing you successfully achieved inbox zero.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.