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Inbox Zero

Better than your Huge Taxonomy List.

While skimming Modern Sentiment, a life hacker type blog, I saw a mentioned linked called Inbox Zero in a recent post. Without reading the blog article I clicked the link and started watching the video of Merlin Mann and the Inbox Zero policy.

I must say I was in complete agreement with him, and found myself pleasantly satisfied. The one thing he said that made the most sense was along these lines. ‘Why do you use your taxonomy of folders or filing? Its not like you go back into those folders to find something you are missing, you use the search function to find specific emails.’

So true.

My email situation is unique because my employment is unique. I work for 3 companies (thus 3 email adresses) and I have my personal email, all tied up into 1 gmail account. I use folders/labels called Company A Inbox, Company B Inbox, & Company C Inbox, with filters to move my mail where I want it to go. This saves me checking 4 different accounts for email. Within each folder, I then have slowly built a taxonomy of folders ranging from “Financial” to “John Doe”… solely clearing my Inbox by filing these messages away. However, when I needed to find an old email from John Doe, I would simply search for it with the filter. So why even have the sub-folder? I now have the following 6 subfolders for each company, and my personal email:

  • Delete
  • Archive
  • Delegate
  • Respond
  • Defer
  • Do

This has helped me clean up a lot of wasted space and I am sure it will make me more productive. I have gone through 90% of the email to get the initial sort done, but needed a break to get my head around it and get that last 10%. (Being the most important/recent emails).

I just wanted to share, so that if anyone else out there struggles with email management and time management. They too can check out the principles of Inbox Zero.

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