Inbox Zero: a new email frontier



I spent the entirety of last week uploading mail from user accounts into the Google.  and what i saw in the process shocked and frightened me!  i saw massive, bloated inboxes, overflowing with unread messages and one-off memos that should’ve been deleted the moment their message met your visual cortex.  i saw folders of folders full of folders, i found emails contemporary with the early Bush Jr. years.  i was scared.

so i thought to myself, “self.  how can we help these people?”  I could attempt to indoctrinate you all with task-management regimes and partially absorbed training sessions…  or i could, no–wait.  that sounds good, lets do that first one.

In preparation for the upcoming tech training at the 11/2008 staff meeting i hope to air a few notions, throw out some concepts for your consideration.  my main goal in doing this is to get you to think just a little bit about how we email.  and how we use it.  as a tool, as a means for doing business effectively.

Allow me to present the first idea:  A cluttered inbox = a cluttered mind.  And, if i may quote En Vogue directly, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”  Your homework is to read this blog post by Merlin Mann  of and to brave his advice if you’ve got the gumption.  Its a drastic “select all”, approach to clearing your inbox, but its a GREAT first step.

NOTE:  The gmail equivalent of Mann’s method would be to select all messages and click “Archive”.

select all and archive

select all and archive

Once your inbox is clear there are a host of tips and strategies for keeping it that way.  and i think that once you experience the satisfaction of clearing out your inbox, and the calm that comes with it, you’ll only want to know more!

And more to come indeed in my series on enhancing your email fu and finding the road to “inbox zero”.

Posted on November 9, 2008 in email, google, productivity

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