Operation: Zero Inbox
Email…you’re probably not a fan. I for one would probably put off answering emails indefinitely if my job didn’t depend on it. But maintaining an Inbox doesn’t have to be a monumental task. At CSR, we’ve developed some best practices to help keep things in order.
Create general directories so that you always have a place to put emails that no longer require your attention. For instance, I have catch-all folders called “admin” and “biz dev.”
Create folders for each client or major category.
Move email followups to a task manager. That way you can file away an email without forgetting action items.
Establish an accountability partner. Add to a weekly 1×1 agenda or measure number of emails as a KPI.
Send fewer emails. Instead, communicate with the team via Slack or a task/project management system.
Sort newsletters into a separate inbox so that they don’t distract you from the most important emails.
I myself used to have thousands of unread messages. At least a hundred were fairly urgent. My manager had me set goals every week for a lower number until I got down to just a handful. Nowadays, I aim for no more than five unread emails at a time and no unanswered emails more than two days old.