A simple solution I’ve developed for keeping my inbox clean and free of clutter. The key is to take immediate action, whether you are constantly monitoring your emails or have designated times throughout the day to check your emails.

In this attachment, I’ve described in detail the different scenarios and actions to be taken as soon as your inbox is opened. These are not the only scenarios, but will serve as a solid starting point.

In general here are four scenarios of immediate action to take with an email:

A. Read the subject line or the from address of the email without opening the email. Based on this information, delete the email immediately.

B. Open the email, read it. If there’s no clear call-to-action or the information serves no purpose to you, delete it.

C. Open the email, read it. Respond to the email with the appropriate answer, information, etc. If no further action is needed, delete it.

D. Open the email, read it. Respond to the email with the appropriate answer, information, etc. If action is requited, either for you to do something (a task), or a follow up to the action (a reminder) – then convert it to an action with a specific deadline or reminder time. Then delete the email.

As always, there’s exceptions to the rules:

If the email is educational or informative in nature, create a “Reading” sub-folder in your inbox and store it until you have a scheduled time for reading and learning. Also, if the email contains a link of interest, launch the link in a web browser and bookmark it in a “Temporary” folder to return to it later.

Each scenario ends with the email finding it’s way into the trash bin.

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