If you’re spending more time with email than you’d like, there’s a good chance that you believe getting to Inbox Zero is impossible. And if you believe getting to Inbox Zero is impossible, it’s likely that the root of your problem is making email way more of a priority than it should be.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that reading email is a low priority activity. It’s a necessary bridge to doing your best work, the work that truly represents the best use of your time. What’s wasteful–and, therefore, much more a priority than it should be–is reading email twice, or three times, or searching through hundreds of emails in your inbox to find an email you’ve already read two or three times.
If this sounds familiar, all that may be required is a simple shift in mindset: remembering that your inbox is just that–an inbox. Chances are that if you’re keeping emails in your inbox, you’re using your inbox as a to-do list. What’s the problem with this? As obvious as it sounds, the problem is that your inbox isn’t built to be a to-do list. The key to getting to Inbox Zero, then, is developing a real to-do list and making it the center of your electronic communication system.
What’s the best to-do list option? Well, that depends on your workload and work style. For me, after years of trying and failing to find the perfect to-do list, I use Evernote. I’ll explain why in a new post next week. In the meantime, take a look at your to-do list options and consider what your ideal tool would look like. Whatever you decide, one thing’s certain: your perfect to-do list option won’t look anything like an email inbox.