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The Inbox Zero Strategy

Inbox Zero, a technique developed by writer and podcaster Merlin Man, is essentially a structured thought process for triaging and clearing your email inbox every day. The goal is to always keep your inbox 100% empty.

There are some big benefits to this: Everything is always handled, and you don’t waste time re-reading an email for the third time before actually taking action.

To achieve inbox zero, there are 4 actions you need to decide on: Delete, Delegate, Defer, or Do. Let’s discuss each:

Delete: If you don’t have to refer to an email again then delete it. Otherwise, archive it so that it leaves your inbox and you can search for it later if need be. The key to this step and the following three is to never keep read email in your inbox.

Delegate: Are you the best person for this email request? If not, forward it to someone who is.

Defer: Will this message take a few minutes to reply? Do you need to find other files to attach to this email? Put a label on it or place it in a separate folder so you can deal with it after you’ve gone through the rest of your new messages in your inbox.

Do: Does this email require an urgent response and can you do it in less than 120 seconds? If so, just do it! Don’t waste your time by putting this message somewhere else. If it’s super quick to process, do it right now and get on with the rest of your email.

Follow this and in no time, you’ll become more effective with managing your emails.


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If you’d like to work directly with the Wize Mentor team to take you from stuck to scale… just send us a message at tell us a little about your firm and what you’d like help with, and we’ll get you all the details!