Achieve Inbox Zero

Achieve Inbox Zero

by Luis

The Inbox Zero concept has been around for quite some time but as with most things in life, it has evolved for the better.

Maybe the creator of the term, Merlin Mann, got misunderstood. Deleting everything, all the time to reach that zero badge count, no matter what, is not what Inbox Zero means. Or at least not for us.

We believe Inbox Zero is intended to make you more productive, not a slave to your inbox. Therefore answering emails as soon as you receive them or triaging the inbox all the time, can only lead to spending your entire day glued to your email client.

We want to offer you six tips to achieve a clean inbox before you go home (or leave your WFH setup). These tips are unique to Missive because we throw a collaborative aspect to the picture. Interesting right?

1. Check emails in batches

Probably the most important piece of email management advice we can give you. It means that you should limit the number of times you check your email.

Let's face it. There are other means of communication, more efficient than email, that can be used to address extremely important or pressing matters.

You can limit to getting 2 or 3 batches of emails per day. This will immediately free up dozens of minutes of your day. We wrote a popular blog post entirely dedicated to this topic.

Batching emails in Missive is quite easy. You can create rules to define when emails should land on your inbox.

When enabled, all emails arriving between 12:00 am and 7:59 am won't show up in your inbox until 8:00 am.

2. Use labels to organize your emails

By creating an organizational system, you can prioritize messages to easily know what should be worked on first. The system can be as meticulous or simple as you want.

If you don't know where to start, we suggest you borrow and adapt a product management prioritization framework named the MoSCoW method. It helps you categorize emails into four unambiguous labels:

Must respond
Should respond
Could respond
Won't respond
  • Must respond: Emails that need to be dealt with, the non-negotiables. Otherwise, your organization can suffer.
  • Should respond: These are less time sensitive than the "must haves", but can be as critical. Not answering them promptly won’t affect your business, but you do need to work on them eventually.
  • Could respond: These emails could be answered if you have some spare time, nothing critical.
  • Won't respond: Emails that have no impact on your work, just discard them.

In Missive you can create labels and sub-labels in the blink of an eye. But even more interesting, you can create shared labels. These can be shared across different teams, coworkers, or through the entire organization!

Share labels with coworkers

3. Delegate when possible

Using the prioritization method above, try to delegate your "could respond" emails to an assistant or someone in the team that can speak on your behalf. Learning how to delegate is one of the biggest timesavers busy people should employ.

In Missive you can seamlessly pass the baton to a colleague or assistant with the click of a button. You can even chat inside emails to let others know how a message should be dealt with. If you want an in-depth article about delegating to an executive assistant, click the link!

Internal chat email delegation

You can also easily delegate your calendar for someone else to manage!

4. Limit or eliminate your newsletter subscriptions

Take back control of your inbox and try unsubscribing from most newsletters. Maybe keep the ones that offer something valuable, like a productivity blog or the likes, but marketing newsletters or pushy salesmen emails only distract you.

In Missive you can create groups of contacts and then rules to automatically trash emails coming from them. You can create a group named "Spammers" and then a rule to delete emails from them. This is how you can build that rule:

Trash emails automatically from spammers

5. Screen emails from strangers

This is pretty straightforward. Have a place where emails from strangers arrive, without notifications. You can screen them and allow important ones to reach your inbox! This is a little different from a spam filter since these emails are not discarded immediately.

Not a lot of email clients have the power to offer this, but Missive does. You can achieve this by creating a rule like this one:

Screen emails from strangers

What does it do? All emails coming from people outside your contact book will be removed from everyone’s Inbox and labeled “To Screen”.

To mark an email as safe, simply add the sender as a contact.

Screened senders emails arrive to inbox

6. Snooze emails

It’s very common to receive an important email that you simply cannot reply to immediately. It could be because it’ll take you more than a few minutes to get it done or you don’t have the necessary information.

So instead of keeping it in your inbox and have it make you anxious every time you see it, you should snooze it to a later time, where you can give it an adequate amount of time and reflection.

In Missive, you can snooze messages by clicking the Snooze button. You can also configure often-used schedules, like “After work” or “Early morning”.

Screened senders emails arrive to inbox

Pro Tip Missive is big on privacy, we actively block read trackers so senders can’t know if and when you open their emails. So read emails at your discretion and reply when you see fit, no pressure.

Luis Manjarrez

Growth at Missive
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