Inbox Zero: The Perfect Anti-Procastination Tool

Inbox Zero: The Perfect Anti-Procastination Tool

Range Govindan
Apr 6, 2011

No matter who you are or what you do, at some point in time everyone procrastinates. There's a logic to this, but ultimately we've found that procrastination stops us from getting stuff done. Which is why we really like Inbox Zero. It forces us to address everything immediately, solving a lot of issues that would have been put aside beforehand.

When we first started working on our inbox to create an Inbox Zero, we had pages and pages of emails, many of them redundant, overdue, overlapping, or useless. You'll quickly find out that most of what you keep in your inbox can be either archived or deleted once you've addressed the issue. Getting rid of most of them is quite easy. It's the last 50-100 that are problematic since these are mostly about tasks, things, or subjects that you'd rather forget, skip, or just ignore.

That's the main reason why Inbox Zero is hard to attain. The fact that you need to address and process all of your email, taking care of all of the things that you elected to ignore. Like most people, we treat our inbox as a to-do list. Inbox Zero just forces you to take care of these chores immediately.

It also transforms the way you use email. Before, we used to check our email constantly and had apps running to alert us of new mail. Now, we check our emails between 2-5 times on weekdays and once or twice on the weekends. Why? Each time you open your inbox it creates work that needs to be addressed. You'd expect people to whine and whinge about how slow you are to reply to emails. That's never been the case. We've been actually praised for replying immediately to many emails, which is nice to hear.

Depending on what kind of person you are, you may deal with procrastination differently. Part of procrastination is mulling things over before committing to a series of actions that cannot be easily reversed. We find that using Inbox Zero keeps us on task, no matter what we do.

1. Use Gmail's Priority Inbox If You're Overwhelmed By Email
2. Optimize Your Morning Workflow
3. Attaining Inbox Zero to Free Yourself of Email
4. Managing Your Time With High and Low Tech
5. Inbox Infinity: When Inbox Zero Isn't Possible

(Images via Right Attitudes and Flickr member Shareski licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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