For someone that dreams about, debugs and discusses email all day, I’m a total dunce when it comes to keeping my inbox tidy.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one – it seems like pretty much has a problem with their inbox workflow. As a result, a slew of email clients and services have turned up on the scene in an effort to better integrate email with our day-to-day work. For example, .Mail promises to help prioritize ‘action items’ and handle attachments, while cool customers Postbox are focused on conversation management (pictured), clever searching and integrating with social media. Then there’s Facebook Messages which suggested that we free ourselves of email as we know it by converging all messages in one place.
The issue is, how each of us deals with email is as unique as the clients above. Personally, I use my inbox (Apple Mail, if you’re curious) as a running ‘to-do’ list, with each email representing a task to tick off the list. Only after something is done, is it deleted or filed. While everyone gets a reply within a day, emails relating to a future event are often kept like a post-it note on the fridge, until said event happens.
In comparison, Harvard Business Review suggests a more disciplined approach, with scheduled ’email sessions’ throughout the day. Each session consists of 5 steps, in which email is dealt with and the inbox is left empty every time. It’s not that different from the famous ‘Inbox Zero’ approach which made the moniker famous.
Now, it’s over to you. What’s your email workflow? Do you have a tip for avoiding inbox bloat? Let us know in the comments below.