For a long while I’ve had a general policy of keeping my inbox empty. I’d let replies and actions sit for a while sometimes, but the appeal of a clean, white page when I leave Gmail is too great to let lapse for too long. What I haven’t had was a methodology for keeping that inbox clutter down and staying on top of everything. Inbox Zero came to my attention again today (it keeps popping up everywhere) and that has all changed.
Simply, Inbox Zero is a set of “skills, tools, and attitudes” for maintaining an empty and manageable inbox. A lot of the tips seem like common sense once we encounter them, but most of us are applying some simple methods that can save us time and keep our focus on things we value more than dealing with e-mails. “Act now or delete” becomes a liberating mantra for avoiding being bogged down by e-mails.
I’m now working on having my RSS feed reading work similarly. My ideal is that when I encounter something interesting among my feeds I read it and then either move on, add it to my del.icio.us bookmarks, or blog about it.
Here’s a great video of Merlin Mann, the guy behind Inbox Zero, talking to employees at Google: