Hidden Pages

E-mail tip #7 - How to empty your In-box right now (and keep it that way)


Is your in-box empty right now? Or does it still contain dozens or even hundreds of e-mail messages?

Here’s a process that has been successfully used by hundreds of past Taming the Email Tiger workshop participants to get their in-box empty right now and then use the 4D Methodology to keep it that way;

Here’s how to empty your inbox, right now! 

  • Create a new In-box subfolder - call it Backlog
  • Select all messages in your In-box (highlight any message and then click CTRL+A)
  • Drag and drop the highlighted messages to the new Backlog folder (ta-da, instant empty in-box!)
  • Now set up a recurring reminder in your Calendar to spend 15 minutes a day processing your Backlog folder. Schedule this time for 15 minutes before your departure time at the end of the day – this time of day will help you to be focused (and ruthless) in making a decision on each e-mail, as you will be wanting to get it done quickly so you can get away to go home.

Use the same decision-making criteria when clearing your backlog as used for making a 4D decision about new e-mails, as below (click image at right to download 4D overview sheet);

  1. Ditch or delete
  2. Deal
  3. Delegate
  4. Decide (Where/When/Wait)

I recommend you start with the most recent e-mails first, as these are the ones that are most likely to still have actions or replies you can make. What you’ll find is that, by the time you get to the older messages, the only decision you’ll need to make is whether to delete or store in an appropriately named folder (it’s probably too late for any action now!). As a result, you’ll zoom through the older messages very quickly and it won’t seem nearly as overwhelming a task as it had first appeared. Good luck!

All the best

Steuart Snooks