A ZeroInbox in Gmail
You don’t want to be the bottleneck. Responsiveness, decisiveness and action can make you extremely effective in this digital age. I have coached thousands of hours on productivity and being able to develop habits for a ZeroInbox, where you move fluidly through the knowledge work you do is not only possible, but it can provide great peace of mind.
If you would like coaching for you or your team on how to create a ZeroInbox, please fill in the form below:
This resource page outlines how to set up your Gmail in structure and habits to create a ZeroInbox.
Setting Up Gmail for a ZeroInbox System
This is the setup process for your Gmail:
- Go to your Gmail Settings and 1) turn keyboard shortcuts on and 2) enable Auto-advance in the Advanced tab. This will allow you to use your keyboard for email management and move you from one email to the next for quick processing.
- Set up your Gmail Tasks with these Gmail keyboard shortcuts for reference. Your Gmail Tasks are within your Gmail and a hidden sidebar you can access along with other tools like Keep and third-party apps. It’s convenient and handy to work within your Gmail:
- c = compose
- r = reply
- f = forward
- a = reply all
- # = delete
- s = starred
- e = archive
- Shift+t = create new Gmail task
- Start with your first email and use the keyboard shortcuts only to:
- Delete the email (#). This is for the majority of your emails.
- Archive your email (e) to save the email and search for it when you need it.
- Reply to your email (r) if it takes less than 2 minutes.
- Star and archive (s + e) to work on the email later in your Starred list and remove it from the inbox.
- Be decisive and get through each email quickly. Make a decision so that you practice being clear and move to action. Do this until your inbox is at zero. Emails should be deleted, archived or starred.
- Also, any emails that need to be converted to a task, especially, use Shift+t to create a new Gmail task per the keyboard shortcut. The email will be associated with the task and you can archive the email. As a best practice, tell yourself what to do and start with a verb, i.e., Enter numbers into database system.
As emails come in, you can repeat this process in batch.
If you would like to explore how to drive this process as a high performance worker, feel free to fill in the form above. This will increase the capacity of your work and business.
More Strategic Tips on Email
Here are some further tips on email:
- Unsubscribe on things that are no longer relevant
- Delete most things
- Save what you need and trust that you can search to find things later
- Think about the question, “What is the next step,” and make that the action
- Practice being an executive. Executives make decisions.
- Know that what you decide now is likely what you would decide a few days from now. It’s not worth the procrastination.
- If emails keep going without clarity, for example 2-3x, then pick up the phone and have a conversation
- Summarize your conversations by taking notes and sending emails after for the record and clarity
- Review and complete your Gmail Tasks and Starred items daily
- When you have all the shortcuts in your head, delete the Gmail Task list
- You can use labels, but it is likely unnecessary. Simply search when you need to find things. Your brain has a great way of remembering keywords.
- Try to eliminate your email addresses. If possible, get to one lasting, working email address. Perhaps set up a new consolidated domain, firstname.lastname@example.org on a new G Suite account. Forward all emails from other addresses.
I have worked with teams, executives and entrepreneurs to teach them a solid system of managing their workflow called the ZeroInbox system. Every day, we are inundated with more information than our parents or grandparents ever dealt with. Those inputs are not going to go away. Our work is virtual and demands our attention, focus and execution. It is the way of the new economy.
Read My Book: Achieve Higher Levels Of Productivity
“It is possible to not only get to a ZeroInbox, but to maintain it ongoing.”
I wrote this book, ZeroInbox, to help anyone that wants a straightforward approach to managing their email and other technology systems day in and day out.
Productivity is a habit and a process which can be achieved with knowledge and practice in today’s fast moving world. In this book, you will learn:
- How to choose and manage your multiple information inputs
- How to get your email to zero and keep it there every day
- What it means to be action-oriented with your email
- The importance of creating meaning from information
- Key technologies that can help you save time and find big opportunities
- Why things are so fast and what you must do to prosper in the game
You will get back time and attention from applying these strategies in your specific work life.
Order the book at Amazon here. Learn these methods for yourself and discover the steps for building your own habits of personal productivity.
Learn what it means to lead your life and gain control in areas that can seem overwhelming. Each day presents so many unknowns from all of the people that are able to create work for you by simply sending an email that demands your attention. This approach allows you to be ready for anything that comes your way.
Much of what I write about is from firsthand experience and the result of testing out different approaches. I sought to simplify how to manage information and get more done and then helped many others with the same approach. For many of my clients, they were able to:
- Be more responsive to their customers
- Increase their capacity for getting things done
- Avoid having to hire more help to cover over a root issue of disorganization
- Clear their minds from the stress of indecision
- Develop the habit of thinking about concrete next steps
“The knowledge worker has to determine the task to be done as well as ascribe meaning to the work. The challenge lies in how fast meaning can be made. Speed counts for a great deal of effectiveness today. Making meaning of ambiguous information is a critical skill to avoid drowning in the work.”
Read Articles On Productivity
I write regularly on strategies for increasing productivity, sharing tips and tools that can help you move quickly towards action. You can keep up with these articles by subscribing to my weekly newsletter or simply scan and follow when you have time. You can read more articles by clicking below. I would love to hear your comments and questions on articles that resonate with you.
ZeroInbox Consulting And Speaking
The habits you have with your inbound information will determine your effectiveness. These habits will create continual clarity and allow you to have peace of mind regardless of how much is coming at you. This system requires:
- Thinking like an executive
- Making decisions
- Moving with speed
- Vigilance on every input
- Intentional design
- Strong boundaries
A ZeroInbox system to your work increases your productivity via a leadership approach to your work. It is using the right tools, process and behaviors to get work done consistently.
When you have clutter in the form of hundreds of emails, lots of paper, unreturned calls, unread magazines and the myriad options demanding your attention, you are operating at low potential. You miss opportunities and can lose credibility as someone who gets things done. It does not have to be this way. If you are committed to learning a better way, then your world can change.
I consult and teach on the ZeroInbox methods in articles on productivity, speaking engagements and seminars, and leadership consulting. If you would like to learn more to achieve higher levels of success, connect with me by filling out the form below. Thanks and I look forward to being of help to you.