Keeping a ZeroInbox In Google Apps

Google Apps is built to help you keep a zero inbox.  This is a strategy of execution which helps you towards higher levels of productivity and having peace of mind.  It maps to the reality of today – relentless onslaughts of information inputs in your life and the need to keep moving.

As a knowledge worker, your job is to make decisions and move to action.  Your inbox becomes the place to consolidate information and drive towards action.  Here are some Google Apps strategies teams can adopt for increasing productivity:

Star And Filter Incoming Messages

Your inbox is not a place for keeping messages.  It is a place for collection.  Every message has these three decisions:

  1. Delete: This is the majority of your inbound emails.
  2. Archive: Keep any messages for searching on as part of your archive records.
  3. Action: Things you need to do.  Star these if you cannot act now.

When you open an email 17 times, it is because you have not made a decision.  These are the three decisions to make and Google Apps makes it easy.  The shortcuts are:

  1. Delete = “#”
  2. Archive = “e”
  3. Action = “s” for star

I keep a zero inbox this way.  I can move through my hundreds of daily emails quickly by moving from collection to a bucket that makes sense.  This keeps your mind clear and ready for anything.

Review Your Action List

Your Starred items should be reviewed as much as you need to keep in touch with your commitments.  This includes replies, research, writing, calls, errands or whatever may need to happen next.  If you have an Android phone, these filters can be viewed with the inherent sync between the Android platform and your Google Apps system.

I like to clear out my Starred items by week’s end when it reaches a threshold of discomfort, usually about 20 items.  When I need a change of pace in work or can knock out a few, I will attack a subset of the list.

Much of knowledge work is continued vigilance and keeping in motion.  There is a natural energy to what you are motivated to work on .  My advice is to allow this to frame what you work on and use Google Apps as a smart filter for storing your next steps until you are ready.

Speed Differentiates

Google Apps is a fast, agile and accessible system.  Our consulting team has helped many organizations delight in Google Apps because of speed and collaboration.  Data that is accessible and able to be worked on within a team context moves the ball forward in project work continually.  This is an asset when considering the alternative of operating in individual silos and serial tasking.

Of course, your computer competency, decision-making and action orientation will become the bottlenecks if you are not a fast knowledge worker.  Today, we are all executives.  Google Apps removes friction in the execution of often vague knowledge.

The zero inbox strategy affords you the opportunity to perform at a high level, and Google Apps lends itself nicely to both execution and collaboration.

How have you found increased productivity in Google Apps?  Comment below.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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