Achieve Inbox Zero Easily

Sep 30, 2019

You can achieve inbox zero easily – a mythical state when you have NO emails in your inbox. Email is a blessing and a curse. It allows instant communication with anyone in your parish, but at the same time, it’s not easy to open your inbox and see three-week-old messages that still require your attention.

Enter Merlin Mann, tech guru and originator of the “Inbox Zero” approach to email. The basic idea is that every day (or every week), you end work with an empty inbox. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Begin by deleting unnecessary items in your inbox. Don’t let stray messages sit there and wear on you.
  • Don’t keep email open throughout the workday. Instead, open it every two or three hours, get through it, and close it down again so you can get back to ministry and real-world tasks.
  • Follow the 4DR approach. When you are working through email, decide immediately if you need to Delete, Delegate, Defer, Do, or Respond. Then move emails that you’ve delegated to a “delegate” folder, and the same with “defer and “do” items.

For a five-minute tutorial, you can watch this video or watch the hour-long talk Merlin Mann originally gave on this topic to the folks at Google.

Try this method for one month and you might be amazed at how efficiently you’re getting through email and how much more time you have for ministry. Maybe the best part of all this? You can end each work week with an empty inbox, and easily stay on top of new emails when you log back in on Monday morning. You can achieve inbox zero easily!