Would You Like Zero Emails in Your Inbox?

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 8.23.38 AM

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 8.23.38 AM

Below is a screen shot of something that I love to create several times each week: my empty inbox. An empty inbox is an indicator that I'm responding to our clients and customers in a timely fashion. And it simply helps me feel more relaxed and organized. You know, I try not to be obsessive or unrealistic about keeping an empty inbox. But I do have a simple goal and some good habits to help me get there. Here's what I do...

  1. My Simple Goal
    I have a simple goal that helps me keep my email under control: to end each day with less than ten emails in my inbox. Ideally, I'd end each day with an empty inbox but that's not realistic.Most days I'm successful at hitting this goal. But I've found that the 80/20 rule applies here. I hit my goal about 80% of the time. And that still feels great.Further, I don't worry too much about my email on days off. I don't apply my goal to those days.I realize that my situation is different than yours. I only receive about 350 emails each week. Some of you receive much more than that. And, since I run my own business I may have more control of my time than you. Despite these differences, I maintain that you'll still benefit from setting a specific email goal that works for you. 

  2. Create Simple Habits to Support Your Goal
    With a goal in place you'll need some simple habits to help you reach your goal. Here are four of mine:1.  I create accountability by sharing my goal with others. Peer pressure works wonders. Heck, in this blog post I'm sharing my goal with the world. Talk about accountability!2.  I process my email throughout the day.  Frankly, I'm not sure if this is a good strategy or not. I've heard several email experts say that you should check your email once or twice a day. But that doesn't seem to work for me. If I check my email infrequently then my inbox builds up and it slows me down from responding to my clients in a timely fashion.

  3. I use the phone
    Email is great for quick correspondence. But for more in-depth issues, email can be less efficient than a conversation. So, it's not uncommon for me to receive an email and, instead of responding, I simply pick up the phone and call the person. That's often faster and more effective.

  4. I keep my email subscriptions to a minimum
    If I don't get value from an email subscription then I cancel it. So, those are four of my habits. I hope they give you some ideas about what can work best for you.

By the way, I'm definitely not an expert at this email thing. I'm right there with you, learning along the way. I've just been fortunate to arrive at a system that works well for me.If you'd like to learn from the experts then consider these books:Inbox Freedom: The Zen Master's Guide to Tackling Your Email and Work by Mike Ghaffary and Charles Hudson.Declutter Your Inbox: Inbox Detox in 6 Easy Steps - Increase Productivity and Finally Get to Inbox Zero by Dewan Bayney.

Good luck!