@daveknox sent me an inbox zero challenge this week using the new app, Leap, developed and launched by a 2011 Brandery graduate. Not a chance that I’ll ever win such a challenge. I gave up trying to win the email battle a long time ago. However, I have found a method that at least has been helpful. For what it’s worth…
Throughout the day as I receive emails I’ll either; a) immediately respond and/or delete them, b) move them to the Retain folder if it’s something I want to indefinitely keep but doesn’t require a response, c) move it to the Reply folder if it’s an email I need to respond to but doesn’t require an immediate response, d) move it to the Review folder if it’s something I’ve been copied on or if it has some type of attachment that I eventually want to review but will not require a response.
I travel a lot and found it helpful to put all my hotel, flight, car rental, meeting emails, etc. into the Travel folder. Inside that folder I have subfolders for each individual trip so it’s easy to quickly find the right trip information. The Projects folder is for all the different client and Rockfish Labs projects that I’m overseeing. I move them to an archived directory once I’m no longer personally involved.
Most weeks I try to empty my Reply folder prior to Sunday. Sometimes on flights I’ll go through my Review folder and then either delete the message after reviewing it or move it to the Retain folder if I want to keep it. I don’t organize the Retain folder at all. It’s sorted by date and I’ll use the search feature to find any messages that I know I saved.
This method has helped me a lot but has not totally solved the problem. My inbox at times will still build up, especially when I’m traveling. And, I am really challenged with reading long emails and tend to procrastinate reviewing or responding to those. Imagine how much more productive email would be if, like Twitter, there was a character max for all messages. Maybe 1,140?