The latest David Allen Productivity Principles newsletter contains a Coach's Corner on Keeping Your Inbox Real by Julie Daniel. In this note, Daniel talks about the six types of email she sees sitting in people's inboxes. The list is in reverse order of value.
Read and no need for followup and no value as reference
Read and being kept for "reference"
Read and left as a reminder to do something, but not sure what
Read and left as a reminder to do something specific, there just hasn't been time to get to it
Read and processed, but awaiting a followup from someone else
The argument at Getting Things Done, and in many other personal effectiveness approaches, is that the only thing that belongs in your inbox is unread mail. All the other mail needs to be deleted or properly filed away. The catch is that you must have a process for dealing with numbers 2-5. Where do you file reference material? Where do you put mail that needs to be responded to but you don't have the time? When do you make the time to do that?
If you do all that then the only e-mails in your e-mail in-box will be the ones you$(Bve(B not read yet. The feeling of liberation and the amount of creative energy that is freed up as a result of having a $(Cre(Bal$(D i(Bn-box is just amazing. Try it and see! I$(Bd (Blove to know how you get on,T
I'd like to know how you get on too.
Also, David Allen has started blogging, if you want a regular fix of his Getting Things Done ideas.