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Inbox Zero for Outlook Productivity

Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in Outlook Productivity Blog | No Comments

Time management tips: Inbox zero for Outlook productivity

One of the most popular email productivity management techniques is Inbox Zero. It was created by Merlin Mann, a businessman with attention deficit disorder who claims the program has helped him focus. Thankfully, there are tools like TaskCracker that can help you apply Inbox Zero right to Microsoft Outlook.

How many emails do you receive each day, and how much time does it take you to process them? Research has revealed that on average, people receive about 100 emails per day, and that 41% of an individual’s time may be spent on sorting them. This can be extremely frustrating and counterproductive.

The Inbox Zero strategy suggests that you should consider each email as a reason to take action—not as some object that can be piled up in your inbox forever. When you assume that each email requires you to take action, it becomes a motivational tool rather than a burden.

  • Delete – Delete emails from subscriptions, spam emails, emails that you were copied on for no reason, emails that don’t need a response, and emails that are useless
  • Delegate – You can never do everything alone. If the action that needs to be taken is worth being delegated, just create a task for the appropriate assignee
  • Respond – Sometimes, an email needs nothing more than your response. Make it as short, quick, and valuable as possible. Never start a long conversation; it’s better to schedule a brief meeting instead
  • Defer – Send the email to your to-do list with low priority. Set a deadline to respond or take action later
  • Do – Send the email to your to-do list with high priority

The Defer and Do points above are the most important; emails in these categories push you to do work quickly and are the only valuable emails when it comes to Outlook productivity.

Inbox Zero for Outlook ProductivityWhen you send all of your to-do emails to your Outlook task list, treat them like usual tasks: prioritize, set deadlines, color code, etc. Here, it would be best for you to use a special Outlook productivity tool such as TaskCracker for Outlook, which can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on prioritizing and processing tasks.

The main idea of Inbox Zero is simple: act on your emails one by one until your inbox is empty.


Here are a few more tricks to help increase your email productivity:

  • Unsubscribe your work email from unnecessary subscriptions
  • Set customized filters to help sort your emails
  • Observe and pay attention to your email behavior
  • Remember that in Outlook, you can send emails to your to-do list

To avoid having deferred emails pile up in your task list, use the prioritizing and Getting Things Done tool, which is especially designed for your Outlook tasks. The visual TaskCracker add-in helps prioritize tasks, complete them on time, and meet strict deadlines.


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Mark, independant marketing guru

Being a big fan of personal productivity tools, Mark is using TaskCracker for Outlook to manage his tasks every day.