Last week at Conversatio Morum we reviewed an app for your iPhone called Mailbox. You can read about it here. Part of what makes Mailbox such a great email app is that it’s informed by the concept of Inbox 0. If you’ve never heard this before, inbox 0 is the concept that your inbox catches things. Some things are actionable, some things aren’t. You delete or archive for reference the non actionable things. Actionable things are done , delegated, or deferred. In the process of getting things to done, delegated, deferred, deleted or archived for reference you remove those things from your inbox. Theoretically, if at the end of the day you’ve gotten through all the tasks you need to you’ll be at inbox 0. There’s actually an entire book on this you should read called Getting Things Done by David Allen. Here’s a flowchart from the book to help explain the Inbox 0 concept for you:
Regarding email, there seems to be a popular opinion that it’s actually productive. I tend to believe that, apart from a very small group of situations and intentions, it’s counter productive. In comparison with having a phone call, it’s not even a great communication tool. Beyond that, it tends to become a hoarders ground for electronic data. This is where the inbox 0 concept becomes powerful. It adjusts, to some extent, what you use email for and how it is used. Now I must admit, that I’ve never truly gotten to inbox 0. Part of the reason for this is that it’s never been a priority, too many other things to do, too many other more important things, etc. The other part of the reason is that I’ve had way to many inboxes. My mail system is, at best, way too complicated(it’s seriously ridiculous). I’ve gotten one inbox to 0, but never been able to experience the peace of mind that comes from having a truly inbox 0 life.
Sooo…that’s why I’m writing this. I’m going to get there in the next several weeks. I’m going to use this to document my journey to inbox 0. I’m doing this in hopes that it will encourage you to do the same, and because it will force me to. I haven’t set a time frame for how many weeks this will take, although I feel I need one. I’m thinking 5 weeks. But would appreciate some input. How long would you give me to finish this? Keep in mind that this series of posts will be the amount of time it will take me to get there (5 weeks=5 posts). Also, I’m interested to know what you think about the idea of inbox 0. Is this doable for you? Do you think it’d help you be a bit more stress free? Here’s to finding out, eh?