Tame Your InboxTame your inbox! Ever since email began to creep into our lives, it’s been a constant challenge to keep it under control. There are people out there who advocate for a variety of solutions. Some people need to have their inbox completely cleared out (it’s going to require a lot of folders or a comfort level with deleting a lot of emails). Other people use their inbox like one big stack, leaving all their emails in the main folder. That allows them to see all of the emails and helps them search for a message they are looking for. Frankly, at this point, I’m hoping that schools start teaching ways for students to get it under control. Maybe colleges should offer “Tame Your Inbox 101” as part of their first-year orientations.

Tame Your Inbox Like an ER Doctor

Earlier this summer, the Harvard Business Review had a good article on how to tame your inbox like an ER doctor. Since they were doctors, they applied crisis resource management principles. With all of the important emails flowing around them, a system was needed. Using the principles, they applied them to their inboxes to:

  1. Streamline communications and clarify roles.
  2. Command and request clearly.
  3. Ask for a clarification when you’re added to a thread.
  4. Build and maintain situational awareness.
  5. Foster atmosphere of open information exchange.

A common theme that seems to crop up these days is: clarity. No matter what issue you are looking at, it seems that at some point, advice comes along that suggests you reach a level of clarity. Is there some way you can find clarity in what you’re doing? If so, that’s probably the path to choose.

Inbox Zero

Another way to get that inbox under control is to aim for “Inbox Zero” – a goal that is sure to increase your productivity. Inbox Zero has a variety of proponents. Fast Company laid out a 7 step guide for you to achieve inbox zero:

  1. Reframe the way you think about your inbox.
  2. Start thinking of email like a messaging service.
  3. Stop writing the same stuff over and over.
  4. Send your time-consuming clutter away.
  5. Stop organizing your email.
  6. Consolidate your email-handling schedule.
  7. Consider some next-level email management tools.

Even though the article is from 2018, you can still use the steps to guide you towards the bliss of inbox zero.

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