One of the best habits I’ve formed at Livio is maintaining a ZERO inbox at the end of each day. (about 300 days of the year.) It’s important to note that I do not respond to every email before the end of the day. My system of a zero inbox is designed to help me stay focused on “what’s important and urgent”, as Massimo always says…
I’ve found that leaving my inbox as an “inbox” helps my productivity. Here’s what I do with emails in my inbox:
- Rules and filtering: I use the filtering command within my mac email application (which you can also set up on gmail and other email clients) to get all of my daily update/news emails put in folders so it doesn’t get in front of me.
- Smartfolder for “unread” mail: all email that is filtered automatically remains in my unread smartfolder. Keep in mind that only filtered email is “non critical” so it doesn’t need to be in my inbox, and I can get to my “unread” mail later. For me my unread mail is more of a low priority smartbox as I read my inbox, and later I go into my unread mail.
- Flagging: I use multiple colored flags (usually just red flags for work, grey flags for personal). Basically if I don’t want to deal with an email right away, I just flag it. I have a smart folder for seeing all of my flagged items. Sometimes I am waiting on someone else to get the info needed, and flagging reminds me to get on it.
- Delete the email and create a google task: A good chunk of my emails are really someone asking me to do something. I usually delete the email forever and then create a task in my google tasks or in highrise (our Livio CRM tool.)
- At the end of the day I go through my flagged items chronologically to see if I can unflag (complete) the task in the email. It’s not uncommon to have an email sit in the flagged box for a couple weeks.
- End of day = 0 emails in the inbox.
In summary, I filter emails before I process and respond to them.
Livio has a no email policy. Whenever we can talk instead of email, we do. Lately some of the crew at Livio have been creeping back into an email mode. I just get off my ass, walk to the person’s desk, call in whoever else is needed, and talk about it. Within the office, this is the true ZERO inbox solution.