Monday, February 28, 2011

Productive Email Management: Getting Things Done in Your Inbox

Email is big part of our everyday workflow. Getting hundreds of emails daily is a normal thing these days. Different people, different contexts, different actions make even harder to stay on top email.

Step 1: Emptying your Inbox

In an interesting free paper by Getting Things Done author David Allen, the classic GTD approach is applied to email:

  1. regularly empty your inbox
  2. file everything that you don’t need to take an action on
  3. complete the emails that will take less than 2 minutes
  4. file those that you are waiting someone else to take action on in a folder: waiting-for
  5. file those that take you longer than 2 minutes in a folder: action

Now your inbox should be empty.

A very similar approach is presented by Merlin Mann with “Inbox Zero” over at google:

Step 2: Being in Control - Review your Folders

After getting your inbox to zero or emptying it you still have a lot left to do: Check the folders you have created regularly:

  • manage and complete the emails in your “action” folder
  • keep the mails in your “waiting-for” folder up-to-date
  • keep emptying your inbox :)

If you are a gmail user you might like our article on getting productive with gmail priority inbox.

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