Focus less on ‘Inbox Zero’ and more on ‘Inbox Zero Distractions’
If there’s one thing that sets people back when it comes to work, it’s their email inbox. Over time, the search for ways to conquer chaotic inboxes has led to the development of numerous methods to increase productivity and efficiency. Of these, ‘Inbox Zero’ is perhaps the most popular.
If you’re not familiar with Inbox Zero, it’s a technique that intends to help people better manage their email inbox by keeping it empty as frequently as possible.
Although the goal of Inbox Zero is to have no emails, this isn’t actually where the ‘zero’ stems from—instead, Merlin Mann, the creator of the management technique, says it refers to “the amount of time an employee's brain is in his inbox.” So, rather than concentrating on the state of your inbox, remember that it’s all about your state of mind.
How you can achieve ‘Inbox Zero Distractions’
Although Inbox Zero might work for some, it doesn’t work for most. Trawling through emails, as they come in, can be unrealistic—not to mention the best way to spend your time.
Inbox Zero Distractions is all about removing your inbox as a point of stress. To do this, forget about Inbox Zero: the belief that you should stay on top of your emails every moment of the day. Instead, organize your inbox into a tool that helps you focus.
This is achieved through actions such as:
- Setting up filters
- Redirecting incoming mail
- Developing automated responses.
There are quite a few valuable and easy ways that you can get started. Let’s take a look at some of them now.
Only Handle it Once (OHIO)
Only Handle It Once (OHIO) refers to users only ever dealing with an email once. Although it may sound simple in theory, in practice it requires a bit of focus and discipline. Handling might mean you either reply to or forward the email, or create a meeting around it. Once handled, you then delete or archive the email—and that’s it!
An email triage helps get wayward inboxes under control by prioritizing the most important mail. This is achieved by setting up folders or labels, sorting out what needs to go where, and managing anything that needs attention as quickly as possible. Effective triaging also demands regular inbox reviews—don’t forget or you’ll quickly be back at square one.
Gmail and Outlook inbox filters and rules
Basic filters and rules can be applied to both Gmail and Outlook to help your email platform automatically sort your emails out for you. This might involve any number of things but can mean certain emails get moved to priority folders or automatically deleted.
Solving the unsolvable situation
With all of these management techniques, good habits, and email etiquette on the rise, how is it that users are still routinely overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted? It’s because most of our emails are unsolicited or irrelevant. Working professionals are still wading through junk that takes us away from our priorities every day.
If you’re struggling with distractions, you’re not alone. Rather than get worked up about Inbox Zero, smart alternatives like InMoat can help clean up your inbox in no time.
InMoat’s powerful AI applies Inbox Zero concepts to allow you the freedom to choose what types of incoming emails are a priority. This way, distractions are moved out of your primary mailbox so you only have to see what’s most important at the time.
The fixation on Inbox Zero is counterintuitive. The irony is that for many people, regularly investing time to prevent long-term stress can actually have the exact opposite impact.
If this sounds familiar and you’re tired of allocating time to manage your emails, sign up for a 14-day free trial and give InMoat a go today.