How to Achieve Inbox Zero: Gmail

January 4, 2017 - 16 minutes read

People from all around the world struggle every single day with email inbox zero Gmail has millions of users and as advantage, many extensions which exist exclusively to facilitate user’s lives. For many, it’s an every day battle, but once people get to know more about easy tips to inbox zero Gmail will see its inboxes going literally empty.

In this post, I will be covering about how you can change your mindset, your behaviour on email and how it will make easier for you to stop wasting time in email and have inbox zero Gmail as a standard in your daily basis.

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But before we get started, we must understand what inbox zero is. For those which still don’t know, Inbox Zero Gmail (or any other email platform) and still believe it’s basically having no email left on your immediate view, or in other words, having an empty inbox, which will declutter your digital workspace, I must say that you are wrong.

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

WHAT INBOX ZERO ON GMAIL REALLY MEANS

Mann explained very well what this means. When you don’t have to worry about your email – even if you might have unread messages -, you have achieved Inbox zero.

When you mustn’t worry about your inbox at all, you start to get a feeling that every single thing you had to do is now done. But you should also be cautious, because this feeling is often tricky and still takes your productivity away.

Although people still believe in the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, if you haven’t finished your tasks with the emails, you find it really difficult to take it out of your mind all your anxiety, which is a completely awful feeling to have in your mind when you’re trying to declutter your life. Your inbox will remain full inside your mind.

In order to take action on that, you must get rid of unimportant messages and let go of emails you won’t be seeing again. To do so, you should also take the next step on that task, which can be in many different ways. Many specialists say you should start with smaller and less time consuming actions, and then go to the big fishes.

At the same time, other people say you should begin with the biggest tasks first. So after you finish it, every other task will seem smaller and easier to solve. The truth is everyone will find some way easier. You must try and then realize which one works the best for you, and then use it.

This “watered down” concept is still part of many people’s mindsets when they think about inbox zero. Gmail, as one of the biggest email servers in the world, provides tools that have tried to change users experience by simplifying interfaces and tools. One good example of it is Google Inbox, a new version of Gmail, available to all user, as you can see by clicking in here.

INBOX ZERO GMAIL: GOOGLE INBOX EXTENSIONS

Talking of which, there’s a lot of people who prefer Google Inbox. I believe there are many reasons for that, such as:

  • New user-interface, which changes how it all looks and feels. One way or another, classic Gmail is a little old;
  • New interactions, which help you get the most of your email even quicker;
  • Although many classic Gmail extensions still are not available for Inbox, it allowed new solutions to shine through them.

Let me show you some that I already use and like:

Power Google Inbox

Because Google Inbox has very large buttons, sometimes it requires lots of scrolling for smaller screens. Power Google Inbox comes to minimise this work by making the menu simpler and less spacious. At the same time, it keeps your inbox very organised.

ReplyUp

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This is one of those must-have solutions for email. ReplyUp simply tracks and personalises messages easily for you. But it doesn’t stop there. It also send emails in a bulk and allows templates, which are simply great!

HAVING ZERO INBOXES

Let’s face it, an inbox is a metaphor for a pit stop before something gets to its destination. It’s a warehouse that gets more and more stuck of stuff every single day. And spam messages just help filling it. Having zero inboxes means you’re more well prepared to deal with things when they get to you. By acting immediately, you give attention to things you could simply file before with a single click.

The most important part is that all of the actions you take over your tasks are simply your choice. So when you change your mindset to solve something, you are creating a new view, with a new perspective of what can be done and achieved by yourself.

KICKING IT OFF

As a first important step, you can step checking your email constantly. Turn off notifications and let your email stay in a place where you can go when you’re ready to solve your tasks.

Many people still believe this is a waste of time. But when you free yourself from the distraction that comes with your inbox, you open to new ways to work and get to finish what you have to do. After that, your inbox will be easy peasy. 😉

But in order to help you with that, here are some great tips, that will make you a new inbox zero person.

1. Use Your Free Time

Optimise every second of your life. We usually don’t have enough time, so what’s better than using your bus waiting time to manage your inbox?

Delete those unwanted e-mails, unsubscribe from that airline’s promotion you don’t have interest anymore and feel relieved for giving yourself more free time.

2. Label Everything

“Travel”, “Social Media Content”, “Startup Material”, “Events”… These are just simple examples of labels or folders you can create to make your inbox cleaner.

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Storing your e-mails on each subject won’t be better just to maintain your inbox zeroed, but to look up for those e-mails easily when you need it – even after you have archived them.  These labels are really useful for when you’re in a hurry, such as in a queue for an event or even when you have to search for a voucher to pay a bill in a restaurant. They’ll save you plenty of time.

To do so, just go to the left menu, scroll it down and click in “Create new Label”. Then click it with the right button and add a colour to it.

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3. Caution before Action

You already have your list of people that you’ll avoid messages. When you simply see their name as sender on your inbox, you automatically read the preview and think three of four times before opening. Sometimes you must go straight for it and finishing your pain once for all. It really boosts your confidence and makes your day more productive.

On the other hand, if you don’t know the sender, or the message doesn’t sound trusting, just delete it. If it was really important, the sender will find a way to get to you. Just don’t waste your time by answering unimportant emails and you’ll see yourself working good again.

4. When the Archive Button Becomes part of the Family

Maybe one of the best invention of e-mail softwares, you’re probably familiarised with the archive button. And it is there to be used with love and so much pleasure.

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I know you want to archive all of your e-mails, even ones you religiously think you’ll need one time. But you won’t do that. You’ll archive really important things such as an output from a meeting, personal orders, and many others… They’ll be there for you whenever you need to have a quick look and check them. Just hit the button!

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5. Delete emails fearlessly

You probably know some peer in your company that saves every single received message. People like this are just afraid of losing important stuff and so they accumulate useless content on and on.

When you’re trying to reach inbox zero, gmail will still have those lovely features to organize emails, but you must ask yourself how relevant these messages really are.

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Also, always have in mind that you will never get to a different mindset while you’re still doing the same things you have always done.

So then you can add the delete button to your favourites. But keep in mind that you should just delete what you won’t need anymore. Be smart while deleting. You won’t want your relief to be followed by a panic attack. Organize important messages before deleting it. Also keep in mind there is the Archive button, which can be of great use.

If you have well labeled documents, it can help you in the future, for instance, newsletters you have unsubscribed, if they’re on the same folder, all you have to do is delete this folder.

After you set up your inbox, you’ll perceive how easy it will become to keep it small, that way.

6. Unsubscribe Is The New Subscribe

Your time is precious and so is your e-mail inbox. Don’t be fooled by a cosmetic company newsletter when you aren’t even interested on, or a travelling blog e-book you’ll have no time to read.  

Have no fear of unsubscribing to those hundreds of website content you have subscribed in the beginning of the year. You’ll see how much your inbox will get easier to manage and less polluted.

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Besides that, you’ll think twice before signing up for a new content. Ask yourself first: Why am I subscribing to this newsletter/e-book? Is it really necessary for my professional growth?

7. Be the master of your inbox

Everyday, your inbox receives emails from many different sources, and it is your job to deal with them in an effective way. As you grow in your company – or your company grows in the market -, it is very common that you’re going to have less time available. Taking too long on emails will cost you more time (and money), and other tasks will be harmed.

In order to avoid it, here are some questions you should ask yourself before spending too much time on an email:

  • Is this important at all? If it isn’t, just delete it.
  • Can this email wait? Add it to a later label, if it can wait.
  • Am I the right person to answer this? Just forward it if you’re not the right person to answer it.
  • Will I ever answer it? Answer it shortly if you feel like it, otherwise, just delete it.

8. Inbox Zero isn’t made to all of us

Alright, let’s face it, sometimes your work is really overwhelming and you just don’t have the enough time to complete all the tasks you are given in your work time.

Or maybe you’re trying too hard and your inbox is now afraid of you – or almost hiding the delete button.

If you’re not feeling good with your inbox that way, remember. You should want to have Inbox Zero to really go for it. If you’re not OK with Inbox 0, try Inbox 10, Inbox 60… just avoid inbox 1.359.309.484…

 

So, which of the tips did you enjoy the most? How many emails do you have in your inbox? Let us know in the comments below.

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