Inbox Zero and minimizing my email time

Last weekend I came across another Inbox Zero post. Well, I decided it was time to audit my Email usage. What struck me as surprising was how many minutes I logged on Monday.

  • Monday: 47 minutes
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes
  • Wednesday: 25 minutes
  • Thursday 17 minutes

Unsurprisingly, as the week progressed I dwindled that number down to by Thursday.

I already aggressively apply David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology to my workflow by automatically filtering emails to “buckets”  so I thought 47 minutes was pretty high.

As for the post referenced above suggesting you need four apps to automate your life. I can narrow that down to one app and pen to paper.

Choose your favorite email client, that’s it.

  • If you work in an organization
    • filter external email addresses to an external email folder, much of it will be spam anyway.
    • filter internal “all staff” distribution list emails to an All Staff folder
    • What remains in your inbox should be mostly actionable emails directed to you personally by a human.
      • Drag what you need to do to a Review folder
      • Drag what you don’t need to act upon to an Archive folder
      • Drag what needs review in the future to a Waiting folder, check it once or twice a week.
      • Reading or Reference material can go in either the Waiting or Review folder depending on the urgency
  • If you freelance
    • Add all your known client email addresses to a safe list and keep it maintained
      • You can then filter them directly to your Review folder or leave them in your Inbox for manual sorting
    • Filter known non-urgent emails such as newsletters, social media, and similar to a Casual folder and try to only look at it once a day
    • Anything that can’t be sorted should make it into your Inbox for quick manual sorting
  • Lastly Use a simple notebook or notepad for task logging, I like to use the Bullet Journal‘s core system. No fancy designed apps or notebooks here. Just a pocket notebook

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