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Myth or Reality?

Do you remember the day when getting an email was exciting? When that dial-fuzz-ding sound was the precursor to the friendly greeting “You’ve Got Mail”? That was before your inbox was overflowing with (mostly useless) emails and the thought of an empty inbox is now an elusive dream. Inbox Zero is not only possible, it can be quite easy with these tips:

Unsubscribe from newsletters, shopping sites and email lists you subscribed to years ago. Every email from a list should have a link at the bottom called “Unsubscribe” or “Change Preferences”. Power tool: Try which stops unwanted email and makes unsubscribing a snap.

Set email times.
It is actually more efficient to NOT constantly check emails. Many productivity experts recommend checking before you start your day, at lunch, at the end of the day and before bed (depending on your priorities and profession). Power tool: Block 15-minute time segments each day as a recurring meeting in your calendar.

Make emails disappear.
Use folders and apps to move your emails out of your inbox. You can set up folders like “Receipts”, “House Stuff”, “Kids”, “Travel”…whatever common email themes you need to keep. Drag emails right into the folders so they are out of your inbox but available should you need them. Power tool: Try Mixmax or Boomerang (Gmail extensions) to reschedule emails. Simply click the ‘Remind me’ button and choose when you want the email to reappear in your inbox.

This is a professional organizing principle that applies to email management. When you set your timeblock to manage emails, use these principles:

Trash – immediately delete any emails that you don’t need.
Read – read emails quickly and if you can delete them, do so or file them in a folder or reschedule it (see Make emails disappear)
Action – if you can deal with an email quickly, do it. That includes responding, forwarding it to the right person or reschedule it to appear at a time you can action it (see Make emails disappear)
File – Don’t print emails and put them in folders. You can
create folders in your email service or you can file the attachments in folders cloud storage. Power tool: Cloud
services like Dropbox or Google Drive have FREE versions
that usually suffice for simple documents.

Reduce the number of emails you get.
Stop subscribing to newsletters or checking the box Yes, send me more information or promotions. If you don’t need to respond, don’t. The simplest response, such as “Talk to You Later” can elicit a response such as “Sure, when?”