Reaching InboxZero: a take no prisoners approach.

Student Results were released on Monday and this always generates a slew of email. For two days I’ve triaged and responded as quickly as I can to enquiries from students who expect to graduate at the end of the year and who want to understand the impacts of the grade I awarded them. For some, a swift response is required as they might be required to sit a supplementary exam and the results need to be forwarded to the graduations team if they are to attend the graduation ceremony next month. Others are serious but can wait for 24hours or so and some get shifted to the end of the pile as they are not time critical but I still have to action them.

After two days of fighting an incoming tide (and losing), I knew I had to get on top of this once and for all. Here’s what I did….

Step 1: Decamp to a lovely spot in a nearby park where there is no wifi, but lots of birdlife.

[Today’s remote office…]

Step 2: Open mail.app and work through the pile of email responding where appropriate or sending to OmniFocus as a task to be completed later. Since I’m not connected to wifi, emails that I respond to are sent to my outbox where they will wait until I’m back on wifi (at which point they will automatically send).
Step 3: Clear the decks entirely before returning to wifi-land.

It took two and a half hours of solid, focused work to wade through all the email and respond or Omnify it. The trick is to not be connected to wifi while processing the inbox, for if I had been responding and replying, potentially my correspondents might answer back. This would mean more email would come into my inbox and it’d take longer to clear.

Severing the connection works. Try it.