Enter the “InboxZero” concept. Coined in 2004 by productivity guru Merlin Mann, the term refers to not having any messages to deal with at the end of the workday. Over the years, it’s also come to refer to methods for keeping you organized, instead of a source of stress.

There’s still a bit of discussion, though, about what Inbox Zero actually means and how to achieve it. Some people think it means literally having zero emails in your inbox. However, this isn’t without its pitfalls. When you’re hellbent on having an empty inbox, it can lead to accidentally deleting or archiving important links or files. Filters that aren't carefully designed can make important messages skip past your inbox and never get read. When something gets automatically moved out of your inbox, it’s hard to know where to find it.

A more realistic goal is having a tidy inbox free of clutter. When you think about it, this goal seems much more achievable and practical than a maniacal insistence on having an empty inbox. We argue this reframing of Inbox Zero makes it something worth chasing, and we think Teamstand can help you get there.

The Inbox Zero Method

If you want to embrace the spirit of Inbox Zero and have a clutter-free inbox, there are established Inbox Zero steps you can take:

Get Rid of Unneeded Emails

Start by going through your inbox and deleting any emails that don’t require a response. Unsubscribe from any newsletters or promotional offer email lists. Archive threaded conversations that have run their course.

Delegate to the Appropriate Party

Sometimes we get emails that are best handled by somebody else. Handle those by forwarding them or otherwise contacting the appropriate people and relaying the information.

Give up the Ghost

Is there anything more annoying than being ghosted over email? Do yourself a favor, and a favor to people waiting for a response, by answering any emails where you feel a quick response will be helpful. Firing off quick responses also lets you delete or archive these emails.

Organize Emails Related to Non-Urgent or In-Progress Tasks

Sometimes an email is related to a task that you're working on or an important but non-urgent matter. These emails can be saved, but Inbox Zero says they should be sorted into appropriate folders, possibly organized by task or urgency - or maybe by client, department, or project. Also, make sure you are tracking the related task in your task management app!

Prioritize Priority Emails

Once you've gotten rid of the clutter, delegated where appropriate, fired off quick responses, and organized non-urgent or in-progress emails, it's time to handle your priority emails. Respond to anything that requires going into significant detail. If you’re using Teamstand, you can quickly locate and attach important files, without digging through your various folders, Slack, or email archives to find them.

Install Teamstand

Available as a Chrome extension, Teamstand is one of the best for achieving an orderly inbox. It automates the organization of digital assets in Gmail to reduce the amount of time you spend searching for files. Teamstand’s unified search capability and automated filing system provide much more organizational muscle than the native tools in Google Workspace. In Gmail, Teamstand will automatically surface all of your important, recently exchanged files, as well as organize every file into folders sorted by company and individual contacts.  

Healthy Habits of the Inbox Zero Faithful

The idea of having zero emails in your inbox seems so attractive because checking your email can be a distraction, and research has shown that even the smallest distractions can decrease productivity

It's also important to set boundaries around responding to emails. Set aside one or two blocks of time each day for going through your inbox. This will allow you to be responsive without being completely distracted. Shut off any inbox notifications to help you stick to your designated times.

When going through your emails, only respond to messages that speak to your daily priorities. Resist the temptation to do favors for coworkers or go off on low-priority tangents, unless you have free time on your hands. It's also important to establish working hours. In keeping with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, there’s just no need to keep tabs on your email late into the night or into the wee hours.

Achieving Inbox Zero is actually about changing the way you think about email. It's not about the quantitative. It’s about qualitative — having complete control over your inbox, with your inbox having zero control over you. It's about being an effective and efficient communicator over email.

Teamstand Can Help You Achieve the Spirit of Inbox Zero

Like all good apps, Teamstand is intuitive and simple, with many different possible use cases. Sales teams can use Teamstand on everything from basic proposals to providing quotes by bringing the collateral they need right where they are working.

Financial teams can use Teamstand to handle tasks like payment processing by reducing the time team members spend searching for invoices and other financial documents. Operations leaders can use Teamstand to better handle large amounts of incoming information, respond faster, and make more informed decisions.

There is obviously a lot more to Teamstand than a simple tool that helps you pursue Inbox Zero. If you would like to learn more, contact us today to get early access to Teamstand’s automated digital finding cabinet.

Read more blogs

See All Blogs
No items found.