When I was first teaching I had an administrator tell me that he was able to be productive because he had an "Clean Desk Policy". Nothing was allowed to sit on his desk for more than 24 hours. After 24 hours it was either taken care of, put in a bin to be filed away, or foldered with materials surrounding a larger project. I have tried to follow this practice as well, and my desk usually has nothing on it (except for times of extreme craziness).
As Email started to take hold I found that much of what used to come across my desk as paper was now coming across digitally. However, the tools I had in my email system were not as easy to work with. Email conversations were not limited to 1 sheet of paper, they came in as many individual threads that were scattered across my inbox. Foldering was crazy, I had over 300 folders for every type of conversation, because finding old messages was impossible.
Then came Gmail.
Gmail has two powerful tools that destroy all other email systems: SEARCH + ARCHIVE
Not just search, a search feature that works quickly and accurately. It came with so much storage (now almost 8GB) that I didn't have to question if a message was "worth keeping". Email became a binary system - two options:
The mantra of Inb0x Zer0 is:
My messages leave my inbox in 24 hours
I have developed some strategies that help accomplish this goal and have outlined them in this presentation:
If you are able to accomplish this you will be much more productive and email will stop being lost in the shuffle.
For those of you hoping to get there - this is what Inb0x Zer0 looks like: