Imagine the number of unopened emails all over the world. For individuals, it could be thousands. A SuperOffice report discovered that between 2015 and 2021, the median email open rate had dropped from 24% to 20%, so it’s not news. Gmail staff are probably wondering why.
The truth is, often, email alerts can be distracting. So much so that you look around and realize you have been replying just emails for more than two hours of work time.
However, as email is becoming a distraction rather than an assistant, strategies are being developed to limit this. And one of these strategies is called Inbox Zero. It is fast becoming a bit of a term among entrepreneurs and people in the IT business.
For people who load their emails and are greeted with hundreds or thousands of unopened emails, the thought of Inbox Zero might seem like an achievement akin to discovering the lost city of Atlantis or unearthing an archaic box full of gold pieces in a field. Many work colleagues of ours who always seem to have zero unread in their inboxes daily are consistently seen as very serious and committed to their jobs. But that does not help us now, does it?
There are many techniques and methods to achieve and maintain Inbox Zero; it doesn’t just happen. But, before we begin, let’s define what Inbox Zero is and isn’t, how it became such a fad, and why we need to talk about it in the first place.
What is Inbox Zero?
Inbox Zero is an email management strategy that aims to keep the inbox empty — or as near to zero as possible — at all times.
“Inbox Zero methods” refer to many tactics people might employ to reach and maintain Inbox Zero, where the aim is to assist users in managing their email inbox to reach zero (or close to) daily.
Who is the Idealist of Inbox Zero?
Merlin Mann, the founder of 43 Folders, a site on “discovering the time and attention to produce your best creative work,” was the first person to mention and is credited with inventing the idea of Inbox Zero. Also, not everyone knows this, but the term does not mean your inbox should be found with no unread emails at any point in time. Instead, it highlights how to reduce “the amount of time an employee spends in his/her mailbox.”
Today, there are several ways and strategies for keeping an empty inbox. Listed below are some tenets of Mann’s early views on Inbox Zero:
• Do not leave your email app open for the majority of the day
• When processing mail, use the delegate, delete, respond, do or defer principle
• Always reply immediately to emails and conversations
What Will You Gain from Implementing Inbox Zero?
There are many benefits to be accrued from having an empty email inbox, and here are some of them:
• No missing essential emails
• Implementing this approach will help you manage your time and focus on more creative, meaningful things. This also increases productivity and quality of services.
• All emails will be promptly attended to, leaving no room for unread emails
How to Make your Email Inbox Zero
Below are the best practices to ensure your email achieves Inbox Zero:
Make use of labels, tags, and folders
The inbox folder is another favorite of email professionals. You may use Microsoft or Google email apps to create folders to categorize and highlight essential mails. Many other email organizers allow you to arrange with tags, a feature that allows you to look for and categorize specific emails conveniently.
Set email reminders
Just as you snooze your alarm even when it’s time to get up, you can also snooze your email notifications to handle these emails at a better time. Unimportant email alerts can always be snoozed to be addressed later. Many email apps have this feature; you’re good to go with one click. Just don’t get used to it, though.
Receiving emails you don’t read? Unsubscribe from them
Yes, you got that right. It would help if you stopped getting emails you do not read. That promotional email about the latest brogues and oxfords or the newsletter about who wore what to the BET awards, when you do not have an inkling of fashion styles, is likely to divert your attention away from what you’re doing at any time.
Set a schedule for checking emails
Your email app does not have to be open 24/7. Choose a number of times to check your emails and stand by it – three or four times is a good choice. Setting some boundaries when it comes to email will help you master your email checking habits.
Respond now or later
The 2-minute rule was popularized by acclaimed author and time management specialist David Allen. If it can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately rather than putting it on a to-do list or prioritizing it for later.
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