IQTELL’s Productivity Blog
How to Reach Inbox Zero: Addiction, Insanity, the Cure
Email can suck away your time and productivity. Inbox zero, the long sought after dream, is indeed an elusive one. In today’s work environments, email volumes are on the rise, and you can almost guarantee that next year, you’ll see exponentially more email than you see today.
A typical email user sends and receives an estimate of 115 emails per day; that’s roughly 2.5 hours every day spent only on writing them. Processing email is a task on its own, consuming sometimes 2-3 hours at a time.
Pardon me for being blunt – “That’s insane!” Half a day gone only on dealing with emails? Do you think that this is normal?
To deal with this situation you’ll have to prepare…
# “First Step, Admit it’s an Addiction”
There is no way around it. Email is an addiction. Rather than our own goals and objectives driving our daily activities, the “Unread Email” counter is causing us to jump and skip from one email to another; from one task to another.
It is a productivity killer. The only way around this, and it will be difficult at first is to “Limit Your Email Addiction”. There is no quitting cold turkey because you’ll still have to check your email.
Your goal should be to check your email two times a day. You should process those emails, and then work off of your priorities not others. Notice I said process the emails; not respond, not resolve every incoming item (see Stop the Insanity below).
Let’s face it; it will be difficult to go from checking email every 2 seconds to every 4 hours. So, set a goal “I want to check my emails 2-3 times per day by the end of the month”.
If that’s your goal, start slow: check email every 15 minutes, then every 30 minutes, etc. You’ll win many small victories on your way to limiting your addition.
I can hear some you as I write… “What about emergencies, people need me, what about the important project…” The list of excuses can stop with the following: have an auto-email go out to every email or add a note at the bottom of your signature:
“I only check email 2-3 times a day. If the world is going to end, please call me or send smoke signals, otherwise, I’ll read your email later.”
# Stop the Insanity
After we limited our addiction, it’s time to battle another part of the insanity. Quick Question – “How many Email tags, labels, folders and sub-folders do you have?” I’ll speak personally, as a recovering email addict; I had over 130 email labels at a one point in time. There is no way you can be productive with your time if you have to manage so many levels and lists.
David Allen to the rescue…David showed me the light. Now when I process my email, there are only 6 destinations:
- Trash – my favorite
- Reference Info
Imagine that…from 130 to 6. Enough said.
# My One and Only “Happy Place”
Processing email often takes many apps: your email, calendar, task list, maybe apps like Evernote, etc. There is a ton of information whizzing from place to place and a flurry of clicks to get everything in its right place.
Try taking the game to another level. Using EZ Email™, you can process all emails with a click of a button. One click of a magic button can create a task, set a due date & reminder, and archive the email (after all we’re trying to achieve email zero). That’s just one example; there are many magic buttons in the app; the tech term for those magic buttons are “Macros”.
With IQTELL, everything is in one place. You email, calendar, tasks, projects, reference info, and more is in One Happy Place.
Just a tidbit before you choice of cool videos: during the testing period of this feature we found that using EZ Email™ reduces email processing time by 90%.
If you are very busy, check out this 60 second video:
If you’d like to peel another layer of the onion, here’s a 6 minute video (it’s like 6 Minute Abs, but for your Email Abdomen)