The myth of Inbox zero

GTD - my inbox (before)

Email is one of the top things that gets in the way of being productive - although it's a tool in itself, it's also a source of great time wasting.

Not only because of the shear volume of emails you receive on a daily basis but because of the time you spend dealing with it.

So having your Inbox at zero sounds great.

In reality it's not about getting your Inbox to zero but how you deal with email.

Let's face it, it's easy to get your Inbox to zero if you just move everything out to a series of folders but it doesn't mean you've actually dealt with it.

Some people will have folders named 'Action', 'Follow-up', 'Pending' etc.  Now you have more folders to check each day which is OK if you're organised but there's a pretty good chance you'll forget and end up with overdue items in your 'Action' folder.

Your email relates to your work.  Therefore any email you receive is part of a project your working on, clients you're working with or something else to do with your work ... right?

Getting back in control of your Inbox means being organised and having a structure and routine for dealing with it.

Don't take it personally - don't get too attached to your emails.  It's probably not essential that you read every word.

Start at the source - can you stop the email arriving in the first place?  Unsubscribe 

There are more effective ways of managing communication between teams rather than using email.

 (Photo credit: kogakure)
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