Recently I’ve encountered that a lot of Alpha Efficiency readers want some tips on how to handle email. A lot of people complain how email is taking them a lot of time, but that’s what you get once you check it far too often, and when you leave a lot of old and outdated items laying around in your inbox.
Every single item in your inbox needs to be processed only ONCE. If you need more than two minutes to process a specific email, you process it to your task manager.
There are numerous ways for you to handle your email. You can handle it via web interface or via desktop or mobile client. For a long time I was using Gmail’s web interface, and there is nothing wrong with it. Quite the opposite, from the all web clients Gmail, with support of Chrome plugins that allow you offline reading, it shines as a best web email client out there. There is simply no match for Gmail.
I am still using Gmail, but not through web interface anymore. I found Apple Mail 5.0 quite awesome, plus I am using mail clients on iPad and iPhone. As a general rule of the thumb, I never check my email through laptop or desktop anymore. Computers are made for work, while phone and tablets are made for communication and entertainment. At least in my case.
Now, since I am handling all my email communication in one mobile device, it’s quite apparent that I can’t complete all the tasks within limited functionality of iOS (or Android) device. But than again, I am firm believer of clearing your inbox completely. Every time a bulk of new email arrives, I deplete my inbox. I get to the inbox Nirvana.
Clean inbox is a peace of mind. It’s critical. You don’t want left over emails laying around in your eyesight and distracting you from a task at hand. Inbox is just there to communicate and process inforamtion that are handled to you. Even though I started using OmniFocus as task manager, in iOS it fails me miserably when it comes down to clipping emails.
That’s the reason why Evernote is still helping me with email management. Naturally I am still collecting wide range of non actionable items in Evernote and clear Evernote’s inbox often. In order to do that, naturally you need to have Evernote account. Within Evernote account settings you need to find your designated email adress. Once you do that, you can as well automate quite a lot of emails to be sent straight to your inbox, as described before.
Now the next thing you want to do, is to actually add your Evernote designated email adress to your contact list of the email client that you are using. Every time when there is an email that you can’t act upon, right now, you simply forward that email to Evernote, for later action. Once I process my Evernote inbox, I usually send actionable items to OmniFocus and process non actionable items into my database.
This way I ensure that my inbox is always down to zero, although other locations of mine can become cluttered, they are not in the forefront of my mind.