A while ago, I wrote about my Inbox being out of control. I didn’t just bitch about it, I took action. And so far, I’ve done what I would consider a decent job of keeping it clean. I wouldn’t say its A+ work, but I’d give my efforts a B. Ok, maybe C lately with the little one arriving and trying to play catch up.
How have I kept up with the email onslaught: Backpack
About a month ago I gave a lightning talk at a local IgniteIT Event. I haven’t done a lot of public speaking so I was a bit nervous going in. But the people that I was with stated that the talk I gave was pretty good. I assumed they had been drinking heavily so I couldn’t trust them that much.
But now the 5 minute talk is on the intertubes for all to see. So here it is, enjoy.
Looking back at it, the talk wasn’t that bad. My voice was kind of trashed from talking to people during the speed networking and trying to talk over the music. But the talk actually wasn’t as horrible as I thought it might be. If I didn’t make it clear enough in the talk, Inbox Zero is _not_ my concept. Its all Merlin Mann from 43Folders.
Hey everyone. If you you’re in the Ames Iowa area tomorrow night and consider yourself a geek, come join us for the IgniteIT event. This is going to be my first year attending and I have even thrown my name out there to give a talk on Inbox Zero
Here is a description of what IgniteIT is all about:
IgniteIT is the networking opportunity for Iowa’s information technology community. Our mission is to spark imaginations, connect people, create new technology opportunities in Iowa and have a lot of fun in the process. Inveigh against solipsism!
Whether you are an IT professional, technology enthusiast, independent entrepreneur, venture capitalist, web guru, motivated student, or just a big geek (like us), you are invited to participate. We are looking for both presenters and attendees.
I’ll admit it, I’m an email pack rat. I don’t like being this way, I just am. I’m terrible about deleting emails. I send myself links to read at a later point in time. I often use my inbox as a todo list by sending myself messages of things I need to do. There is a freaking todo list in my email client (Entourage) for goodness sake. I have a backpack account with 37 signals. Good lord, why am I using my inbox as my todo list. This is nuts.
Its time to stop. In the past I had heard of people having zero messages in their inbox. Merlin Mann is most noteable for quoting the term ‘Inbox Zero’ and you can read more about it at 43 Folders and there are some great videos of the inbox zero concept given by Merlin Mann himself.
To start off, my work inbox had 3770 items in it. Freaking ridiculous! There are messages in there from 2006! 2-0-0-freaking-6!!! So, here is what I did to solve this issue.
First, I created 3 folders.
Archive – This folder is for everything that I don’t have a specific folder for concerning a project, but may need to access this email at some point in the next few days. Now, in order to keep the size of this folder from getting out of control, I setup a rule that will check the messages in this folder on a regular basis. If messages in this folder are over 30 days old, they are automatically moved to a local archive off of the Exchange server.
To Respond – This folder is simply for messages that I need to respond to, but I need to either research something or more thought on my part is needed so I put messages in this folder to respond to by the end of the day. I do not let this fill up. It is always empty before I leave for the end of the day.
DMZ – technically, I’m cheating a bit here. I’m taking everything that was in my inbox and moved it to the DMZ folder. What this did was allow me to start having an inbox zero box now. I didn’t have to go through all 3,770 messages and get it down to zero. I started now. Refreshing, quick, and I’m off to a good start.
Its only been a 1/2 a day with this new habit, but good habits have to start somewhere. So I’m going to set a small goal of keeping my inbox clean for the rest of the week. If I’m still on track, the next goal is the rest of December. Small steps, small steps.