There is a better way to manage email overload. The process is easy and works with all email clients and platforms.
Once you understand the steps, you can confidently manage email. No need to fear opening your inbox. Email is a fantastic tool when used properly. When used properly, email can help you achieve your goals.
To get the most out of this email workflow, you need to understand three simple concepts:
- Inbox zero
- 2-Minute Rule
Inbox zero is an email processing strategy. The term was coined by productivity expert Merlin Mann in an email series on his website. Despite its name, Inbox zero does not aim to be empty. Even if your inbox is occasionally empty, you can apply Inbox Zero principles without reaching zero messages.
The Inbox Zero system focuses on email management. When it comes time to open your email inbox, you won’t be afraid because you’ve prepared. The Inbox Zero steps are heavily based on GTD principles (Getting Things Done by David Allen). Delete, delegate, defer, or do.
Time, attention, and energy are limited. You can’t waste them. Touching something twice requires twice the effort to finish it. Touch-It-Once says you should act on something the first time you touch it.
Have you ever forgotten what a piece of paper was on your desk? You need brainpower to read it and decide what to do next. Touch-It-Once means act immediately. If not, you’ll have to start over. It is inefficient. Multiply that by hundreds when processing email. Touch-It-Once helps you master your email inbox.
The 2-Minute Rule
The 2-Minute Rule is a core practice of David Allen’s popular productivity method Getting Things Done. If a task can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately. It may take more time and energy to record it than to complete it now.
Consistently applying the 2-minute rule yields exponential results. You not only finish tasks (and free up mental space), but you also free up mental space for larger jobs and projects. Everything else becomes clearer.
The 80/20 rule of email handling is achieved by combining the Touch-It-Once principle with the 2-Minute Rule.