I’ll show you my inbox if you show me yours. Maybe it’s just natural for the library types, but I love a clean space. In my home, in my Learning Commons, and in my digital spaces. It gives me an overwhelming sense of peace and calm.
I’m the type of person who has grand ideas of New Year’s resolutions in January, and a few less by February, and can barely remember what they were come September. However, apart from not drinking soda and limiting myself to 2 (ok, maybe 3) cups of coffee per day, I am also trying to accomplish Inbox Zero.
This concept is where every email is either responded to or filed by the end of the day every day (or at least by the end of the day each Friday), so there is less visual and mental clutter when I open Outlook at the start of the day.
How did I get to Inbox Zero?
The first thing was to unsubscribe and mark spam everything I don’t actually read. Anything that was from a company getting me to buy something or from vendors I don’t use had to go.
Next, I set up some automatic Rules under the Home tab. This puts emails from specific people automatically into folders. This was invaluable to free up space from our work order system, School Dude, where I get dozens of emails a day updating me on student device repairs. Now all of those emails go into a School Dude folder and I can search later to find a specific work order if I need to later.
The last thing I did to get to Inbox Zero was to organize my folders. The most important folder I added was “Follow Up!” When I sit down to go through my emails, I will respond, delete, and sort emails first, then go to my Follow Up folder to see if there are any in there I can respond to, then sort accordingly. I felt like the emails I previously left pending were those I needed to do something with first, and so far, the Follow Up folder is working as much improved method for me.
What’s working? What’s not?
I’ve also had to go through and reevaluate folders, headings, and adjust things as I need them for shorter or longer periods of time. It’s not a perfect system, but having a completely clear inbox is also absolutely beautiful to me.
I heard about the concept of Inbox Zero through several minimalism blogs and podcasts, and I’m not even sure where first. However, I know that simplifying my workflow and tedious procedures gives me more time to do meaningful work with children, which is why I am here. Also, I get a disproportionate amount of joy from things like this. I hope my Inbox Zero habits last.