A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s a picture of my inbox.
That’s right, it’s empty! Here’s how.
1. Spinweb’s Inbox Zero webinar
I’d encourage you to take this webinar. It’s jam packed with tips and goodies. Here’s the 60 second version…
Due to the fact that ‘search’ functions are so advanced by now – all you need are 4 folders:
- Action Needed
- Waiting for
- Someday Maybe
If an email needs more than 2 minute of attention, move it to ‘Action needed‘. If you’ve responded/instigated and are waiting for someone but don’t want to loose track of the project, move it to ‘Waiting for’. If it’s a longshot that you’ll prioritize it but don’t want to give up on it, move it to ‘Someday Maybe’. If it’s none of those – Archive it. Note: I’ve created 3 additional folders. Waiting for my boss (so I can keep our items separate), Kudos (props, thank yous and encouraging notes – not for vanity’s sake but on a rough day I skim these to turn my mood around in mere seconds) and Research (specifically for a project I’m working on – where these emails wouldn’t be easily found through the search function).
2. Distributive Leadership
Some call it ‘delegation’ but it’s more than that. Specifically keep an eye out for emails/asks that others in your office can take care of – with a little empowerment. Forward them and move them to ‘waiting for’ until they’ve responded/accepted.
3. Saying ‘no’ or ‘not yet’
A flippant ‘yes’ sent via email can mean hours of work, headache or distraction later. It’s not that you don’t want to be helpful – but I’ve learned the hard way that every YES means less time you have for your work, your fun, your family/partner, your rest, and other things you might want to say YES to in the future. Do say YES. Just be selective. I often ask people to ping me in a month or two. It’s a polite ‘right now isn’t great, sorry, but let’s try later’. More often than not, they find another source or you can say YES at a better time.
4. In writing, give people an out – they’re more likely to say YES
As this great post from Buffer shares, acknowledging people are busy and giving them an out increases positive response rates by 2x! Case in point –
I know you’re swamped but I do think you’d enjoy reading my future posts. Take 3 seconds and subscribe to my blog at the top-left of this page. If it’s not your thing, no worries!
(See what I did there?)
5. Close your email
Say wah?!?!? GASP! Oh the horror!! Yes, taking a tip from Spinweb’s webinar – your job is not to read email. It’s to do the work. So make a practice of closing your email. If it’s open all day, you go back n’ forth, switching mindsets and gears – which is a horribly inefficient way to go about your day.
6. Use Rapportive (for Gmail) or Xobni (formerly for Outlook, now part of Yahoo)
These programs install into your inbox and show you more about the person you’re emailing with (Picture, title, Twitter handle, etc.). You can also connect with them directly from your inbox. Super helpful for relationship and context building.
Have more? Share them below!!!! Or send me an email…wait…maybe not…:)