Productivity Tips to Get You to Inbox Zero Today
New Year, new inbox. It’s time to start the New Year off with a clean state by getting your inbox to ZERO. Not only does email overload hinder your productivity, it’s actually bad for you.
Getting to inbox zero is a feat that not many can claim victorious in. An accomplishment that only the OCD are thought to be capable of. A task that is so complex, it requires hours of engineering, scanning and analyzing emails to ensure that memo from your boss wasn’t added to trash.
The thing is, getting to inbox zero isn’t just about clearing everything from your inbox–it’s about eliminating them from your mind. The more clutter and junk that you look at every time you go to check an email, the more it consumes your mind and distracts you from what you’re currently working on. Follow these productivity tips below and get cranking for the new year!
1. Limit Email Checking
Try and check your email 2-3 times a day instead of the common every-hour-on-the-hour method. Doing this forces you to focus on the task at hand–thus eliminating the good emails from the bad. The New York Times actually reports that checking your email too frequently is, in fact, bad for your mental state. They conducted an experiment between 2 different groups of people and allowed them to check their email 1 week as much as they’d like and the next week, reduced it to 3 times a day. The results: those who checked email 3 times a day were drastically less stressed and more content. They state:
“Checking email less often may reduce stress in part by cutting down on the need to switch between tasks. An unfortunate limitation of the human mind is that it cannot perform two demanding tasks simultaneously, so flipping back and forth between the two different tasks saps cognitive resources.” –The New York Times
2. Use These Handy Tools
This free productivity tool called Unroll.Me will save you a ton of time. As soon as you sign up, it scans your emails for any subscriptions you have that are flooding your inbox. And trust me, you’re signed up for more than you think you are. I thought I’d have maybe 10 email subscriptions and ended up having a whopping 46! From there, it’ll list all of your subscriptions and you choose to stay enrolled or unsubscribe.
Taper promises that users will achieve “email zen” with the help of their tool. It does this by only letting you have 5 emails in your inbox at once, forcing you to make some of the changes we’re talking about here. It works with most popular email services, such as Apple Mail, Outlook and Gmail.
3. Use Gmail
Gmail is a great email provider because it syncs automatically. People check email from a number of sources all day–think about it: you wake up and may check your email from your phone, go to work and check it on your computer and come home and check it on your iPad. No matter where you’re looking at it, it’s important you’re not viewing the same email twice because you’re using twice the time to do so.
4. Enable Tabs in Gmail
You can skip this step if you’re not a gmail-user. Enabling tabs will keep you automatically organized, even when you’re not checking your mail. Here’s how to set it up:
1. In gmail, go to the right corner of the window under ‘Settings’ toggle and select ‘Configure inbox.’
2 After clicking this, you’ll see the different tabs you can segment your email by primary, social, promotions, updates and forums.
3. Every time you log into your gmail account, you’ll see your inbox divided up so it’s easier to manage.
5. Set Guidelines and Follow Them
You have 3 decisions to make for every email you receive. When you check it, make one of these 3 choices as soon as you open it:
- Delete -immediate
- Respond on-the-spot -within 2-3 minutes
- Decide- is this something you need to respond to? If it goes into this category, make sure it gets done by the end of the day or it’s going into trash.
This system ensures that your email is constantly controlled so buildup is avoided.
6. Disable notifications
Every time a notification pops up and shows you what’s waiting, your mind is inevitably distracted. Avoid this and just turn them off for your email all-together. You should also apply this to your phone because let’s face it, it’s just another distraction.
7. Respond to Events
If you receive an email that requires an RSVP, respond with your answer and send it over to your gmail calendar. This will keep your schedule nice and organized, as well as your inbox.
It’s a new year and time to de-clutter your life! Follow these simple steps to organizing your email and see how much time it’ll free up throughout the day.