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Blog // Thoughts
August 21, 2007

Inbox Zero

Reading Jason Clark’s reflection on his recent holiday hit home with me, in particular Jason’s thoughts on building a better relationship with email. On my recent break in Adelaide, there were several opportunities to reflect on just how email-dysfunctional I had become over the past few years. My email inbox had become a hopeless mash […]

Reading Jason Clark’s reflection on his recent holiday hit home with me, in particular Jason’s thoughts on building a better relationship with email. On my recent break in Adelaide, there were several opportunities to reflect on just how email-dysfunctional I had become over the past few years. My email inbox had become a hopeless mash of stored facts, missed communiques, junk, appointments, things to follow up, important bits of research, memorabilia, commercial transactions and other projects in various states of disarray.

The motivation to do something about this mess came from Merlin Mann’s presentation, Inbox Zero. You can see it here and read more about the idea here. This is an implementation of the Getting Things Done approach to goal/project/task management of incoming information. The idea is just to clear your inbox to zero (something that in itself can be quite liberating), but to weigh the significance of each incoming email and immediately turn emails into tasks within a follow-up and process structure.

It’s something I used to be very good at, but for a variety of reasons became very, very bad at!

I’m a couple of weeks into this and I’m realising just how unfocussed my email usage had become, how much guilt I was carrying around about not replying to emails or replying poorly and how much time I wasted each day pointlessly “checking email.” It was harrowing going through that seething mass of electronic detritus. But, I’ve cleared it all and the simple fact is – once you are on top of all incoming email it becomes a lot easier to manage your day, to fit requests into your schedule and to simply be free to think and create.

Inbox zero – try it.

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