Google Email - Keeping the Inbox at (or near) ZERO

Email is a great way to communicate...but it can consume your time if processes are not in place to control it.  It can also quickly become overwhelming, a place items get missed because of the sheer number in the Inbox.

Here are three of my personal processes for managing email - how I keep my Inbox at (or near) to ZERO.  All of these techniques are easy for even a beginning Google Mail user.

1. The OHIO Principle - Only Handle It Once
Before implementing this, I cannot tell you the number of emails that I would open and read five, six, ten or more times.  Each time I opened it, that was time used.  Make a commitment to only handle each email ONE time, and prioritize it with an action right then.  For me, I answer it, make a calendar event so I have scheduled time to deal with it, or archive it the first time I read it. Others use the starring system in addition to these.  Whatever your process, have a set one to get it all OUT of the inbox.

2. Schedule a Time for Email
I find that when I block a set time or several set times for email during the day and close the app/browser while working on other projects/items, I eliminate lots of distraction time.  What works for me is to have a longer block of time in the morning, then short bits 3 or 4 times during the rest of the day.  Those times vary depending on the other items scheduled into my day.  So today I spent 1/2 hours on email first thing, once I'm done blogging I will do another clear out, after a meeting later I will do another can be very flexible to your day, just make sure it scheduled!

3. Block It Into Your Calendar
If it needs a chunk of time you don't have when reading it, schedule it into your calendar during open time.  Each email has a unique URL - you can copy that URL and paste it into your event so you can refer back to it if needed...even if the email is archived!  Just don't trash those email :-)

 Here's a picture of my inbox -
Three items in my inbox!  All of which I'm going to deal with as soon as I finish this blog post...

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