Maintain Inbox Zero Daily With This Flow Chart

ROFL 12-07-2013

Personally, I try to maintain Inbox Zero despite receiving over 500 emails on a daily basis. That’s zero unread emails — that’s right, I address every single email sent to me every morning. And trust me when I say, it’s not easy. It takes me more than an hour to sift through them. All the while receiving even more emails — can you believe it? Fortunately though, I get through them.

With the help of this simple flow chart, almost anyone can achieve Inbox Zero. All it takes is three simple steps. And repeat it 500 times.

Do you believe in maintaining Inbox Zero?

Maintain Inbox Zero Daily With This Flow Chart focused email workflow

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  1. Peter Kerschbaumer
    July 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for the nice flow chart. In addition to the Inbox Zero flow, I use two chrome plugins, Todoist and Actioninbox, to keep my peace of mind.

  2. Johneth37
    July 19, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Love to know what Jackson does with his To-Do List. I follow the same philosophy but my To-Do List keeps growing out of control!

    You should be able to deal with this email in less than two minutes.

  3. Benjamin Irvine
    July 19, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Inbox Zero, as I am familiar with it, means zero emails in your inbox. Not zero unread emails. Quite frankly, anything less than zero unread emails, regardless of volume, is weak (my average volume is usually 400 +/- per day).

    Read your mail.

  4. Mark
    July 19, 2013 at 2:38 am

    I really gotta force myself to adhere to this simple yet effective flow-chart, somehow I end up keeping emails that I never really get back to even though I plan to at a later time...

  5. Debbie Rosemont
    July 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I'm a Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant and teach clients a similar decision making process. I would add a question in between your #1 and #2:

    Is this something needing action? Yes - go to questions #2. No - file for reference in your electronic filing system (within your email program, on your personal drive or shared drive, depending on your situation). This is assuming you answered yes to #1 and know it is relevant - if it doesn't require action, then it is relevant information to file for future reference).

    Thanks for the post!

    Debbie Rosemont
    Simply Placed

  6. philippe99
    July 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I would add my personal rules:
    (1) if you appear in the "Re" or Fwd" cascading flow of emails but not in the original email -> trash it
    (2) if the email only contains "FYI" stuff (and therefor is not actionable) -> move it to your "materials"

  7. Emily
    July 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Do you have any recs for emails/news you get as email that you want to read? I find I can clear my emails I have to respond to, but am always left with lots of emails/articles/whitepapers I want to read. Thanks

  8. Krzysztof B
    July 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Cool strategy. Thanks

  9. Kay F
    July 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I think that´s just perfect and exactly how I handle my emails. If you don´t mind I would share your flowchart with colleagues in my department?

    • Jackson Chung
      July 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      I didn't make it, but sure, please feel free.

  10. Vincent Paul Migliore
    July 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Nice idea if you have someone to delegate it to for Option one? Is this a source for delegating tasks?

  11. Steve
    July 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    My boss has about 20000 (yes you HAVE read that correctly) unread emails.

    I think he needs to read this

    • dragonmouth
      July 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      You should email this article to him. :)

      Seriously, if he has that many unread emails, I don't think he ever intends to read them. He's hoping they will disappear with time.