Imagine a Zero Inbox. Below are the steps to create one.
1. Open a new email.
2. Ask yourself, “What is it?” and “Is it actionable?”
3. If it’s NOT Actionable, then delete it, store it in a Reference email folder, or incubate it on Someday/Maybe if you think you’ll have action with it in the future.
4. If it IS Actionable and will take you multiple steps to complete, ask yourself, “What’s my desired outcome?” Track that outcome on a Projects list.
5. Now ask yourself, “What’s my next action?” Then you’ve got 3 choices:
1. Do it now (if it will take less than 2 minutes)
2. Delegate it now (if someone else can do it, track on Waiting For if you need to)
3. Defer it to a Next Action list or folder (if it will take longer than 2 minutes and store that email in a place (other than “In”) you know you can easily get back to when you need to take action.)
If it’s got multiple next actions that can be done simultaneously, track each one of those. If you have “future actions” or dependencies, and this is a project, those can be stored with your project plans.