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This is how I clear my inbox every day

As a newly-qualified accountant I took a time management course. It still helps me today.

One part of it was how to deal with incoming post. I learned there were four things you could do with an incoming item of post. They were, in descending order of preference: throw it in the bin, delegate it to someone, file it, or act on it.

Over the decades since I took that course post has been replaced by email and I receive far more email messages every day than I ever had letters. But I still use the same filtering process. For every email I answer these questions.

1️⃣ Can I delete this? If so, it’s gone for good. I think more than half of all my emails are deleted.

2️⃣ Is this something someone else should do? If so, I forward it

3️⃣ Is this something I need to keep? If so, I archive it. I don’t have any folders in my email app. Everything that is saved goes into a single archive file. I rely on the inbuilt search function to find anything that I subsequently want to look at.

4️⃣ Do I need to act on this message? If so, and it will take < 5 minutes I take the action and either delete or archive the message. If the action will take longer I make a note of it in a todo list, archive the message and add its URL to the task in my todo list.

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

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