Clean Out Your Inbox to Increase Productivity

Posted by: Phin Upham

In a recent blog post, Financial Times columnist Tim Harford quoted efficiency expert Merlin Mann, who says that there are only five things that a person can do after reading an email: delete it, reply to it, take action yourself, delegate actions to someone else or hold off on taking any actions. Because of this, Harford recommends moving all emails out of the Inbox as soon as they are read. They can either be deleted or moved into a “To Do” folder that has tasks that need to be completed.

The reason for doing this is more than just cosmetic. According to Harford, leaving old emails in your Inbox essentially turns it into your To Do list; this means that anyone who sends you an email effectively puts an additional item in your To Do list as well. Cleaning up the Inbox relieves this pressure and allows you to control your list of action items.

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Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.