Posted: 06 Feb 2013 06:36 AM PST
By Leo Babauta
Email can be a great tool, and email can be a tool for procrastination or overwhelm.
It’s not email itself that decides, it’s how you use it.
There was a time when I declared email bankruptcy, but these days I do it 2-3 times daily and power through it quickly and minimally.
I’ve developed a set of habits that work for me, helping me to keep email minimal and productive and still be able to focus on more important work. I can honestly say that at least once a day, my inbox is empty, and that’s a nice feeling.
I offer them here not to say that these are the email habits you should follow, but to show one person’s way of doing things.
My Essential Email Habits
The email habits that work for me:
If your inbox is really full, here’s how to clear it out quickly: for to-dos that are in your inbox, star them, put them on a to-do list, and archive. Archive and delete others, make some quick replies, put everything else in a “to-read” or “to-process” folder if you need to. Now you have an empty inbox that you can keep empty with the habits in this article.
Having good email habits is important simply because if you trust yourself to process email effectively, you won’t worry about it. You can let it pile up as you do more important work, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll get it to empty when you decide to get to it.
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