It was last summer, I was an intern working everyday in the grueling and information heavy field of the law. I was stressed out of my mind as I tried to handle projects, cases, calls and emails. I certainly needed to be productive, but in this new environment I did not know how. Certainly I knew that productivity is about the things you can control, and it did not seem to me that there were very many of them. That was when I first encountered a concept that many of you have probably heard of: Inbox Zero.
I found this life changing concept in a little ebook called Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst. I am not sure that Mark used the term inbox zero, Merlin Mann has been largely associated with coining that phrase. But Mark did introduce the concept to me:
"No message, no matter how important stays in the inbox"
A light bulb went on inside my head, here was something I could control, something I could fight.
Inbox zero is the idea that the information in every email belongs somewhere and it is just passing through your inbox. At some point everyday your inbox should be at zero, not zero unread messages, zero period.
The problem is that people are using their email inbox for things it is not designed to do, Mark Hurst lists 5 of them, if you are not at inbox zero it is because of one these:
- Todo list
- Filing system
- Bookmarks list
- Address book
This is probably killing your email productivity. There is to much for you to look at to many problems and concepts jumping into your mind for you to really handle what you need to there. The idea is that all you have to do is:
- decide where the information from each email is suppose to go
- put it there
- then get it out of the inbox
That's all you have to do, and your email stress will go way down. Of course you will need good places like a todo list and calendar to put the information into. I use the stock calendar app and Producteev.
Check out the book in the iBookstore, its free, so you know, well worth the cost. Leave a comment or Tweet to @halduauthor which one of the five things you have been using the inbox for that you shouldn't.
I'm not perfect at this whole thing yet guys, I still get overloaded on email sometimes, but I have been trying since last summer and dedicatedly trying since January. I can tell you it helps out a ton. If you enjoy this post Tweet or
And remember, live better.
Apps used in this post: Mail, Blogger, Cooliris, Aviary, iBooks