Find Time to Manage Your In-Box and EMPTY It Each Day

Clean Out Your In-BoxFinding time to manage your in-box, let alone EMPTY it, may seem an impossibility.

Not so, says Marty Marsh in an intriguing new post on the Solo-Entrepreneur blog titled “Never Check E-Mail in the Morning.”

His basic advice?

  • Only check your e-mail at certain times during the day,
  • Act on every piece of e-mail you receive, and
  • Have the goal of cleaning out your in-box with each visit.

I know, when I first read that, I thought it was absolutely unrealistic.  But read on … this is definitely doable!

In-Box Organization

Marty suggests that you set up three folders for yourself.  One titled ACTION, one titled TOMORROW and one titled REFERENCE.  As you check your e-mail (at the time you set for yourself) your commitment is to either act on an e-mail or move it into one of those folders, working through each item until your inbox is empty.

Items in your ACTION folder should be acted on quickly (i.e. today) but needn’t be done right now. (As a rule of thumb, if it will take no more than 2 minutes to respond to something, do it immediately – don’t even move it to your ACTION folder.)

Think of your TOMORROW folder as a way of giving yourself time to respond to less urgent items in your own time.  (This is not procrastination.  You’ll know the difference.)

Your REFERENCE folder is for items you have already tended to, but want to keep as a record or for reference.  Marty suggests NOT creating subfolders here.  His advice is to use the search function that is available with most good e-mail managers, if you need to find something in your REFERENCE folder.

How do you manage your in-box?

I have discussed this with my VA, and I know that she finds it helpful to manage her mail with a number of subfolders.  You certainly ought to exercise your personal preference in this area, with the goal of keeping it as simple as possible!

Is managing your in-box a perennial headache for you?  Consider giving Marty’s suggestions a try – and then let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear if it helps you find time!

And here’s more help…

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up and download The New Finding Time Personal Boundary Template. It’s FREE, and when you sign up you will also receive (if you don’t already) my FREE, weekly Finding Time Tips and my FREE, monthly Award-Winning Finding Time E-zine!

Let’s explore time together …

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