Why you shouldn’t bother with Inbox Zero

A while ago I was having lunch with some fabulous solopreneurs and the topic of email came up.

One of the ladies looked at me and said “Do you keep your inbox at zero? I bet you do!”

I surprised her by telling her I don’t keep my inbox at zero – at all. 

Looking at my main inbox right now I have nine read emails and five unread.

In my other inbox folders (it’s Gmail so I make use of the inbox tabs) I have 42 read emails and 32 unread.

Why don’t I do the “Inbox Zero” thing?

My job isn’t to closely monitor my email all day

I’ve tried doing the Inbox Zero thing in the past and all it did was result in me checking my email every 15-30 minutes to make sure I still had zero emails in my inbox. 

That makes it very difficult to get much else done effectively or quickly. 

And while keeping your inbox at zero all day isn’t actually the point of the Inbox Zero strategy, my brain seems to think it should be when I’ve tried it.

All email isn’t important

If the goal is to process ALL email each time I go into my inbox, then all email get’s treated with the same level of urgency.

Have an email from a client asking a question? Yes, reply fairly quickly. That makes sense.

Have a newsletter from someone you can’t immediately place? Read it NOW and make that inbox be zero! Well, that doesn’t seem like it’s the best use of your time.

What does make sense is to answer the urgent or important emails quickly now and come back to process/delete/read the other emails when you have time.

I don’t always have time to clear out my email every day.

Some days other things are more important than a newsletter in my inbox, even if it’s one that I LOVE to read.

AND I still want/need to respond to emails from clients, potential clients, and friends.

Don’t strive for an inbox of zero. It’s just not the best way to use your time.

Instead, find or create an inbox system that works for you and keeps your email at a manageable level where the important emails are responded to and the unimportant are quickly dealt with when appropriate.

Do you have any questions about managing your inbox that you’d like answered? Comment below and let me know.

Productivity for Solopreneurs: Insights to getting things done #98

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