You Only Need 5 Folders to Maintain Inbox Zero for Emails

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You Only Need 5 Folders to Maintain Inbox Zero for Emails

You Only Need 5 Folders to Maintain Inbox Zero for Emails

Once you’ve reached Inbox Zero, the true challenge is keeping it there—-which is where these folders come in.

There are other ways to get inbox zero, like using Gmail’s archive function, these Android applications, or these iPhone apps. You may set up filters and schedule time to deal with email.

But once you’ve reached Inbox Zero, the true challenge is keeping it there. As with other things, keeping things simple is often the best approach to assure success.

You can keep your inbox clutter-free with a system of only five folders (or labels in the case of Gmail):

  1. Move mails that have a task attached to them to your to-do list. If it just takes a few minutes to deal with, do it straight away. If additional work or time is required, add it to your to-do list and transfer the email to this folder until the job is completed.
  2. Waiting: Put any messages here that are awaiting a response or input from someone else. Don’t let this mail clog your inbox if there’s nothing you can do about it.
  3. Ideas: This is a long-term folder that is completely optional. I’ve discovered that I save emails with project ideas or techniques I’d want to try for my job, thus this folder acts as a continual source of inspiration when I have free time to be more proactive.
  4. Archive: Throw everything that has been handled with into a single archive folder. You don’t need to arrange your archive if you’re correctly recording any information that comes in from your emails.
  5. Project:If you’re working on a really big project with a lot of moving pieces, try establishing a project-specific folder with action and waiting subfolders. Once the project is over, all of the emails may be transferred into the main archive.
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Many inbox zero purists would advise against creating a project-specific folder, but I’ve found that it helps guarantee that nothing slips through the gaps on large projects.

You may even include some automation for messages that you handle in the same manner every time: Gmail, Outlook, and other major email providers make it simple to establish smart rules and filters to transfer messages without ever touching them.

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