Email is the most useful tool in the modern business age, but most people fail to control it.  For many people their work comprises largely of email. 

If you are one of the people who have hundreds perhaps thousands of emails in your inbox then it’s important that you take five minutes to look at the fundamental principles of email.  Because if you do not control email, it will control you, causing you to feel stress and ensuring that you work at a fraction of your optimum efficiency.

There are only four types of incoming email:

1. Junk or irrelevant to you

Delete this immediately – it has no place in your inbox.

2. Things of passing interest

For example,  a meeting announcement.  When you have made a note in your diary it can be deleted. 

A thank you note or confirmation that somebody has received something can also be deleted.

3. Information

Anything that you need to know can be archived in case you need to refer to it again.  DO NOT LEAVE IN YOUR INBOX.  (That will only cause you to read it time and time again as you look for other things).

4. Call for action

Act upon it or delegate it to somebody else.

Some actions cannot be done easily and immediately.  You may need to gather information from others before you start it.

If possible, create a folder for all of your actions and keep appropriate emails in there until you’ve completed them.

When you have finished an action drag it into ARCHIVE.

The trick is to try and get your inbox to ZERO every day.

When you can achieve this, you will be in complete control of your email.

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