Spell It: Why the Inbox Zero Time Management Technique May Not Work For You

The Inbox Zero approach to email management originated in 2006, and its goal is to keep your inbox empty (or nearly empty) at all times. The idea is that by dealing with the constant onslaught of messages as they come in, you’ll never get to the point where you feel overwhelmed with unanswered messages or a clogged mailbox.

But the question remains: would you spend that much time and energy keeping your inbox empty… for about 30 seconds, until the next deluge of emails arrives?

If you think you probably won’t, you probably subscribe to another approach to time management – rather than the concept of Inbox Zero, where you have to do everything on your to-do list, you would just do the important things. first.

American educator and best-selling author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey, shows people how to do it, in his book. It organizes all activity – including email – into four basic quadrants:

According to Covey, the most efficient people complete their tasks in this exact order, and think that if they never get to the tasks classified as “Unimportant”, even if they are urgent, all is well – in fact, this always indicates that the person manages his time well.

Another American author and motivational coach, Tony Robbins, developed a technique called the Rapid Planning Method (RPM), which is a way to maximize results, while maximizing your sense of fulfillment and joy. According to Robbins’ system, it’s worth prioritizing “important but not urgent” tasks because these companies usually offer the best return on your time investment.

So if you have 1,299 messages in your inbox, don’t feel too bad – you are effectively assigning value to tasks and taking control of your life and time. And it’s far more invaluable than an email inbox with no notification.

About Donnie R. Losey

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