Inbox zero is not a mythological dream that nobody can attain. You can in fact have an empty email inbox. And not just by deleting everything without reading it. That works but may not be that efficient in the end.
Instead maybe try out one or more of these top 5 tips for achieving inbox zero.
1. Use filters.
Some emails don't need to be read or responded to right away — you just need them on file. Things like receipts for instance. Set up a filter to send those straight to a folder. Great for social media notifications or newsletters too.
2. File or archive emails you want to keep.
Put it in a folder. If you don't have a folder, create one for those kinds of emails. Even easier, some systems like Gmail will let you just archive an email and you can search for it later.
SEE: Google's big Gmail redesign: A look at the new features (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
3. Delete emails you don't need.
Don't be a digital hoarder. If you answered the question about what that payment of $312 to Baskin Robbins was for, you don't need the email asking about it. Delete! Your answer will be in your sent mail if you really need it.
4. Take action on an email right away.
Don't just leave it there to deal with later. Whether you answer it, create a to-do list item out of it or file it, don't just stare at it.
SEE: Time management tips for tech professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
5. Take them one at a time.
Yes, if you look at all 124 emails, you'll think it looks impossible. Just start with one. When that one is done, do the next one. And the next one and so on.
Those are just the basics too. If you want more help knocking that inbox down to nothing, check out this article from TechRepublic: 11 ways to hit inbox zero.
- Top 5: Essential productivity tips (TechRepublic)
- How to enable and use Canned Responses in Gmail (TechRepublic)
- How to customize Inbox by Gmail's Snooze option (TechRepublic)
- Will 2018 see the death of printers and email in the workplace? (ZDNet)
- Productivity boosting tech tips to help you get more done in a day (ZDNet)
- Can a smart office make your team more productive too? (ZDNet)
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.