There are a couple of ways to empty your inbox. The first is to ‘Select All’ and ‘Delete’…most people find this causes anxiety!
The other way is to work to a very simple system…this is what I do and thousands of people I have worked with also do. I have no e-mails in my inbox apart from new ones that I have not seen yet and I think that I receive slightly more than the average number of e-mails every day (I would say about 50 to 60 per day). Sorry if this sounds a bit smug, but it is important to show everyone that it is possible, as most people initially think that it is not.
Although the system is simple, it takes a lot of discipline to stick to it, but I do (nearly all the time) and it serves me well.
The system is that I only look at my e-mails 3 times a day AND, most importantly, when I look at them I process them all top to bottom so that my inbox is clear…and I do this very, very fast (usually in around 5 minutes or less). I delete or file anything I can, I do any actions that will take me less than 2 minutes there and then and, for everything that will take me more than 2 minutes to do, I…
- press ‘Reply’ / ‘Forward’
- type in a few words describing what I need to do (the next action)
- save the e-mail to draft
- delete the original e-mail
I do the same with paper based stuff (except I only look at that once a week) and, as I write this blog, I only have about 10 things I need to get done (one of which was to write this blog).
If you are interested in learning more about this system, join me from 1pm to 1:45pm GMT (UK time) for a free webinar on ‘The 3 Keys to Managing Your Time’ – just click here to register (no special software needed – just an internet connection).
If you are a leader in the North West of the UK, join 50 other business leaders at Daresbury from 8:30am (8:15am for breakfast) to 10am for our ‘Creating time for leaders’ event – no charges, but it is limited to 50 places – to register for your place, click here.