A little over a week ago, I wrote about cleaning out my inbox. I’ve learned a bit in the previous week, and want to pass on my learnings to those of you who are following along and working on your own inbox. As you can see from the attached picture, I’m still at zero, but that’s not always easy. It takes determination. Here are some things I’ve learned, and maybe, if you’re doing this yourself, share what YOU’VE learned in the comments, too.
Schedule Two Things Faithfully: Offload and Review
The hardest part, and what left a few emails sticking in my inbox, was not just taking the moment to shuffle through them twice a day. The second hardest part, and where I fell down the hardest, was not getting back into my review/follow-up items, and thus missed a few responses I owed people.
Schedule these in Google Calendar (or your calendar of choice) if you find yourself falling down on this front.
Be Brutal With Email and Stop Peeking
Delete the hell out of your email. Answer what needs answering, but don’t keep things around for “someday.” At the worst, stick something in your calendar to revisit an idea, but otherwise, delete.
I’m still learning to not peek at email until I’m ready to blaze through them. If I let them build up, part of me twitches, thinking, “Well my inbox isn’t empty,” but that’s not the point. The point is to empty the thing when I’m scheduled to empty it, not just be a crazed inbox checker.
Write Better Emails in the First Place
I did reasonably well at this, but I found that when I had a ping-pong in my inbox, it was usually my fault for not closing the loop. The better the email I can write someone, the less likely I’ll get something back in my lap.
So What Did YOU Learn?
I’ve seen emails and blog posts and twitters from people saying they’re working on the empty inbox thing. What are you finding along the way? What have you noticed? Share with us.
Screenshots are always taken with Plasq’s Skitch.
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