How to weed wack your inbox down to zero

If you’ve ever tasted Inbox zero, you know there’s no going back. It’s a powerful reference point in mastering GTD.  The key is knowing how you did it, and how to repeat it on a regular basis. (Yes, it’s not just about getting it there once–anyone can do that with Ctrl+A, Delete. )  The answers are all in the GTD workflow diagram. Download a free copy here.

The good news with the GTD model is that the thought process is the same no matter how something comes in (email, paper etc.) But since email plagues so many people, we’ll use that for our example.

1. Open a new email.

2. Ask yourself, “What is it?” and “Is it actionable?”

3.  If it’s NOT Actionable, then delete it, store it in a Reference email folder, or incubate it on Someday/Maybe if you think you’ll have action with it in the future.

4.  If it IS Actionable and will take you multiple steps to complete, ask yourself, “What’s my desired outcome?” Track that outcome on a Projects list.

5.  Now ask yourself, “What’s my next action?” Then you’ve got 3 choices:

  1. Do it now (if it will take less than 2 minutes)
  2. Delegate it now (if someone else can do it, track on Waiting For if you need to)
  3. Defer it to a Next Action list or folder (if it will take longer than 2 minutes and store that email in a place (other than “In”) you know you can easily get back to when you need to take action.)

If it’s got multiple next actions that can be done simultaneously, track each one of those. If you have “future actions” or dependencies, and this is a project, those can be stored with your project plans.