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Your In-Box Will Not Be Empty When You Die!

Do you ever wonder if you can actually have zero emails in your in-box? Well, I do know some people who have empty in-boxes. I’ll admit I never have. I fully expect my in-box to be full when I die. If you’re trying to move in the direction of an empty in box, here are six tips that might just help.

1. Send less email. Doesn’t that seem obvious? If you send less, you’ll get less.

2. Acknowledge receipt of the email. I do this with my clients when they send in prep sheets before a call. It lets them know I got their email and they don’t need to follow up. It’s a quick “Got it. Talk with you later.” This lets the original sender off the hook.

3. If you don’t expect a reply, indicate that. I got one such email last week with NNTR, online code for No Need to Reply. It was great. I just read and deleted.

4. If you get marketing emails that you no longer read, consider getting off the mailing list. Or learn how to use “rules” in your email program and route those emails to a separate folder so you don’t see them all the time in your in-box. Then set aside time to look at them, or if you find you don’t get to them, trash them. If you rarely look at the emails, it might be time to stop getting them.

5. Don’t check email all day long. Set a routine for handling your emails. If you allow time at the beginning of the day, mid-day, and the end of the day and stick to it, you’ll do a better job at not letting the email get out of control. I’m not suggesting you do it three times a day; I’m suggesting you create a system and stick with it.

6. Follow David Allen’s “Two-Minute Rule.” Allen of Getting Things Done fame suggests that if it will take less than two minutes to handle the email, do it now, even if it’s not a high priority. (Remember you are setting aside time to do emails; you are not checking all day long.) He has lots of other good ideas for productivity in his book.

7. Get or use a spam filter. I use SpamSieve, and I can’t believe what a difference it has made. Now the spam heads right to the junk folder.I think it works better than the filter that came with my email program.

Please share your tips for handling your email in-box on the blog.


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