Effective E-Mail Processing

Spam filters are supposed to take care of unsolicited E-Mail and they save us lots and lots of time each day. But what about all that stuff from inside your organization that is only loosely relevant to your work or not at all? Crowded inboxes use up time and energy and turn reading your E-Mail into a tedious task.

A while ago I stumbled across an interesting Google Tech Talk video: Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann. Inbox Zero is a simple concept about how to process your incoming mail without getting overwhelmed. It’s a non-technical, simple process, similar in spirit to David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”.

The concept suggests five different ways to “process” an incoming message:

  1. Delete (aka move to archive)
  2. Delegate
  3. Respond
  4. Defer
  5. Do

The talk itself takes about 30 minutes with another 30 minutes of Q&A. I also like the presentation technique used. The slides are clean and minimal and perfectly suited for the message they are supposed to convey.

Merlin Mann’s 43folders website contains a series of articles around the Inbox Zero concept that’s also worth checking out.

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