7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty - Part 3

#3: Things are not lost or forgotten

It’s easy to forget important actions and tasks when they’re buried amongst so many other messages in your inbox. When you do finally get around to addressing them, it is usually under time pressure with a deadline looming (or already past). At best, important e-mails will require reminders; at worst, they will go undone (thereby negating any benefit of using e-mail for that action item).

Rely on your system instead of your memory

By contrast, when you use the 4D method to make a decision and take action on new e-mail, it is then moved out of the in-box to a more appropriate place, as follows;

  • Delete (if not needed for future reference or as a business record)
  • Deal with it (handle immediately if it will take 2 mins or less)
  • Delegated (when next action needs to be done by someone else)
  • Decide (choose one of the following)
    • where – file the email into one of your e-mail folders
    • when – convert email to a calendar item for later action if it will take 5 mins or more
    • wait – if waiting for someone or something else, move to a waitlist folder (with a reminder)

Once one of these actions is taken, the e-mail and its contents now sit in the appropriate place until the appropriate time you need to address them again. As a result you can safely forget about them – they will return to you (at the appropriate time) instead of you having to remember and then search through the inbox to find them again!

This is a great way to rely upon your system rather than your memory to keep track of all the tasks and activities you have to keep up. Why not start using the 4D approach today and see what a difference it makes?

Next in this series looks at #4: The inbox is NOT your to-do list. Get the full 7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty article from the Resources webpage at any time.

All the best!

Steuart G. Snooks