Inbox Zero: Simple Steps To Achieving This Goal

Team Polymail

Email has remained an amazing tool to maintain communications, tasks, and ultimately the workflow found in many businesses, teams, and personal lives. 

With email being a vital tool for success, it’s easy to become consumed by the endless flow and content, taking away from the productivity of your day. To make issues worse, you may find yourself thinking about your email even when you’re away from your desk, wondering if something important might have arrived while you’re not in front of the computer. 

To make matters worse, every time you receive an email, you probably hear your computer “ding,” and now your mind is completely focused on wondering what it could possibly be. 

With your mind buried in your emails, it feels impossible to clear your thoughts and even get close to Inbox Zero. 

Inbox Zero

When you first hear the term Inbox Zero, you may think it refers to having zero emails, or having zero unread messages in your inbox. Unfortunately, neither of those are quite correct. 

Inbox Zero refers to the idea that your mind is not focused on your inbox. You’re not spending your work day thinking about the responses you should be receiving, or the emails that need to be sent, and you’re not spending your time outside of work checking your email.

Is Inbox Zero Possible?

For most people, Inbox Zero is absolutely possible with a bit of extra work and dedication. For those working solely through their emails throughout the day, with project management or customer communications, it’s less about taking your mind away from your inbox and more about organizing and utilizing your email to display only what’s important. 

For many users, your inbox becomes your primary form of communications both within the company, and outside the company with customers and vendors. The work done within your email is often important for business maintenance and growth, but in most cases you have other work that needs to get done, and focusing on your email takes away from that potential. 

It’s time to release your mind from your inbox jail.

How To Achieve Inbox Zero

Achieving Inbox Zero can be a bit different from person to person, as we all use our inboxes differently. You must first look at what’s important to you, and organize your email to match your needs. 

Junk Mail

For some users, junk mail is exactly that: junk. It instantly gets deleted and sometimes never even looked at. 

Junk mail usually consists of subscriptions, and spam. Receiving a mass of unwanted emails will not only fill your inbox causing you to have to sort through to find what's actually important, but they will also cause your email notification to chime, and chime, and chime. 

Reducing the number of emails received will allow you to focus on the ones you need to see. 

Subscriptions can be emails you agreed to when completing a purchase, or agreed to when you added your email to receive an additional percentage off a purchase. These messages are required by law to have the option to unsubscribe, although many users simply ignore them or delete them instead. 

When you simply delete an email, you remain on the company’s mailing list, and you should expect your inbox to quickly fill again. On the other hand, going through each email and hitting the unsubscribe button at the bottom becomes time-consuming, and you can only hope you’ve clicked each and every one. 

Using software such as Unsubscriber, you can reach a better understanding of what you’re receiving, and what you actually want. 

Of course, some subscriptions have their benefits, such as coupons to your favorite restaurant, and you may not want them deleted. Unsubscriber will display all of your current subscriptions and give you the one-click option to unsubscribe.  

It’s unfortunate we have to deal with spam mail, since these unsolicited messages often come with some danger, too. These aren’t always messages we are agreeing to receive, and quite frankly they are often avoiding the laws governing email advertising. 

While you would like to believe you just simply won’t open them, the reality is with personable sounding subjects and clickbait, you almost can’t help but to check it’s not something important. 

Never respond to a spam email, or click the links that have been sent, as this let’s the spammer know your email is active. 

Marking emails as spam within the Polymail software will flag the sender, and place all future messages from them directly into the spam folder.  When you come across an unsolicited email, bring up the Command Center (Cmd/Ctrl + J) and begin to type the word “spam” into the search bar, then click Mark as Spam

Get Organized

The next step toward Inbox Zero involves moving the emails you want to keep, but that aren’t important out of your eyesight. This includes items such as subscriptions to your favorites group or store that may have information you want to read, or coupons you want to use later. 

Organizing your emails in folders allows you to receive them, but they remain outside of your inbox. You should create folders for large categories, such as coupons, personal, receipts and so on. 

Once you have created your folders, it’s time to get organized with filters. Filters tell incoming mail where it should be filed away, this is often referred to as adding “rules” to a message. 

You can take your organization one step further by also adding labels to your messages, organizing them into a sub-category to be found later. This is great for emails focusing on a specific project, which may get filed in your “work” folder, with a label “project A.” Later when you’re actually working on project A, you can simply search for all emails tied to that label. 

Set Time Aside

Now that your inbox is well-organized and cleaned out, it’s important to set time aside each day when you plan on working through your inbox.

Without utilizing set times, the average business professional spends nearly 28% of their work day reading and responding to emails, even when their company is not internet-based. This means 2.6 hours per day is spent away from your company, unable to supervise or manage your teams. 

It’s good to set a specific time aside in the beginning of your work day, customized to your needs. If you set 1 hour aside, this doesn’t mean you couldn’t finish early, but it does encourage you to focus on getting the important things done first. You will also benefit from time at the end of your day to handle emails received. This is your time to do a final check for the day, and organize messages that will be handled the next day. 

Emails don’t necessarily need to be handled right away, so focus on what’s important first. Be sure to utilize your Polymail Calendar to stay organized and up to date. This will allow you to stay organized, without focusing on your inbox, and avoiding important deadlines from being buried. 

You’re Ready For Inbox Zero

Once you’ve emptied your inbox of all the junk emails, organized all of your incoming email, and set appropriate time aside to handle your daily new messages, you can step away from your computer screen and keep your mind outside of your inbox to get some productivity accomplished elsewhere. 

Inbox Zero is about improving the way you utilize your inbox, and reducing the time spent staring at a computer screen. Understanding your personal habits will allow you to adjust your inbox and take control.

Allowing Polymail to assist you and your team with everything from scheduling to communication can keep you assured that your team will work as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. With more than 10,000 satisfied business leaders highly satisfied with Polymail, you can find peace-of-mind in your company's future with the modern email platform that works for you. 

Sources

https://www.fastcompany.com/40507663/the-7-step-guide-to-achieving-inbox-zero-and-staying-there-in-2018 

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business 

https://hbr.org/2019/01/how-to-spend-way-less-time-on-email-every-day#:~:text=The%20average%20professional%20spends%2028,120%20messages%20received%20per%20day

https://www.g2.com/products/polymail/reviews 

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