Published on [Permalink]
Reading time: 2 minutes
Posted in:

How to clear your 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Over the decades since I took that course post has been replaced by email and I receive far more email messages every day than I ever had letters.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.

In short, with any email you can DELETE it, DELEGATE it, ARCHIVE it, or ACT on it. In that order!

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

Privacy policy