Inbox Zero
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Inbox Zero



With all apologies to Merlin Mann, this is my re-interpretation of his famous presentation to the staff at my school. Due to some time considerations and because he is so awesome, I at times (like the ...

With all apologies to Merlin Mann, this is my re-interpretation of his famous presentation to the staff at my school. Due to some time considerations and because he is so awesome, I at times (like the opening slide!) egregiously and without remorse rip off Mr. Mann directly. I hope he doesn't mind.



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  • This presentation is inspired by and is a poor replication of the original talk given by Merlin Mann at the Google Campus in 2006. I just want to apologize in advance to Merlin Mann…
  • DesktopFiles and FoldersInboxCC:, BCC:We can simplify our lives if we treat the digital version similarly to the analog versions.
  • We are all Don Draper: We are the expert; our time and our attention are our greatest assets.
  • Our secretary, instead of Ms. Blankenship, is our computer…Handles our messages, our tasks and to dos, our appointments, our files
  • We all know the story of Ivan Pavlov…There is an Email AnxietyMust respond to every emailSoon overloaded
  • Time
  • Attention
  • To help with this, we need to devise a system.
  • 3 steps to achieving Inbox Zero
  • You can never get on top of things if you are constantly trying to catch up. You need an intervention. You need email bankruptcy.Pick a date/time frame. Start of the school year, so maybe 2 weeks ago. Anything older than 2 weeks old, place it in a folder different from your Inbox. Call it whatever you want. If you ever get a chance, you can go back and process these. If not, no big deal. If it's important, they will remind you againWhat do you do with the remaining emails in your inbox?
  • Before you can deal with those, you need to define your actions.In the Words of Mann, Email is only a medium. It’s not the email that is important; it’s what IN the email that’s important.Define some actions so you can convert your emails into those actions.
  • You must be totally honest with yourself. You need to find a way to get over that anxiety that turns into guilt.
  • Goes into a To Do FolderMake an appointment on my calendar.Add a task to my task listAdd a line on my to do listDo it right now!
  • Just do it. Start processing those email. Use your actions and crank them out.
  • Four tips to help you.
  • Processing means using your actions.It’s more than reading, but less than responding.The Habit: every time you go to your inbox process it until it is at zero. Every time.
  • What happens when you hear that ding that signals new email?How does that make you feel?Do email less.Either, turn off your email program until you have time to process, or turn down the frequency of the auto check.
  • Not everything requires you to do it yourself.Use filters to filter out things that you know you don’t need (even though people still send them to you).Always re-evaluate your filters to make sure you aren’t filtering too much or too little.Search for archived emails instead of looking in folders; resort by date or sender or attachment or…
  • Remember, email isn’t what is important.Focus on your actions, get in and get out.Don’t fiddle around.Schedule email dashes, where you know you have time to process to zero.

Inbox Zero Presentation Transcript

  • 1.
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    to our Inbox
  • 6. Ding!
  • 7. What is
    to you?
  • 8.
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  • 13. Email Bankruptcy
  • 14. Define Actions
  • 15.
  • 16. Delete
  • 17. Archive
  • 18. To Do
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