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  • Alec Pringle

Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero is a concept introduced to me by the book "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity", by David Allen.

Getting to zero messages remaining in your email inbox is the most rewarding achievement of being organized. My simple summary of “Inbox Zero” is that at the end of the day, whenever you choose that to be, you simply schedule the task in each email to another time. It doesn’t mean simply clicking on the email, so the red dot count disappears, or reading them quickly at night, noting in your mind that you will deal with them tomorrow. It means physically moving them out of your inbox and placing them in your schedule at a time you think is best suited to handle the task. “Inbox Zero” trains us to prioritize our efforts and ensure we have not overlooked the needs of anyone who is demanding our time.

Scheduling tasks for another day or time can create anxiety for the people who believe in today’s standard of immediacy associated with everything. If you are one of those people, stop it. If you believe the author of the email who is requesting something from you is that way, reply briefly by saying, “Jane, I got your email. Please look forward to a response on Tuesday” (or whenever you intend to accomplish the task). Then do it, without fail, on Tuesday.

The last step in adhering to the “Inbox Zero” method is to have the discipline to not look at that icon again until morning and to spend our out-of-work time on other priorities and passions in our lives.


For more on Inbox Zero, read David Allen's book... or better yet, read mine!!!


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