Efficiency Nirvana: Empty Inbox

Last week, for the first time, Judy achieved something that Dagmar, the more organized twin, routinely achieves: a completely empty e-mail inbox. You don't need to be one of those office organization consultants to know that it's not good to have hundreds of e-mails cluttering up your inbox. While we are still working on achieving a very clean inbox on a consistent basis, here are some quick tips to get you started:
  • Set up e-mail filters for all newsgroups and listservs that you belong to. These messsages will then bypass the inbox and go into pre-specified folders to read at your leisure.
  • If you don't think you need an e-mail, delete it. When in doubt, delete it.
  • Create good folders on your e-mail system. The more granular, the better. Have one for each client, subdivided into correspondence, projects, invoices, etc. We have dozens of folders that are well sub-divided for ease of finding.
  • When you get an e-mail, evaluate if you can take action within a few minutes. If yes, do it right away. If not, wait until you have some extra time to research and think before responding.
  • Consider setting up a "pending but not urgent" folder. You could move anything that's not too pressing into that folder and program a reminder to look at it once a day.
Having a clean inbox really gives one a sense of accomplishment, organization, and simply room to breathe. Also, you will save lots of time as you will be easily able to locate important messages. Try it -- it's actually easier than cleaning out a desk drawer.


Guija Matías on September 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM said...

Loved the "in doubt, delete it" tip! :D

Nathalie Reis on September 10, 2009 at 7:25 AM said...

I have followed your advice and I went from over 2000 messages in my inbox to about 8. I feels weird, but I have to say, it's alot more organised. Thanks!

Now I have to clean my sent Items box...

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on September 14, 2009 at 1:04 AM said...

@Matías: yep, we've found that if you are hestitant about whether you need the e-mail or not, you probably don't.

@Nathalie: Wow, down to 8! That is wonderful, we are so impressed. Great job.

Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

Subscribe by email:


Twitter update

Site Info

The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

Translation Times