# 25 Cracking the ‘Email Code’

For the past few years, I have been experimenting with a variety of approaches to email. My goal has been to respond to every email in a timely fashion and leave with my inbox at zero at the end of the day. I’ve literally gone months without being successful at this goal.

The more you respond to emails, the more you generate. As my friend says, “It’s like digging a hole in sand, the hole just keeps getting deeper and collapsing on itself.”

Thankfully, persistence pays off. I believe I may have finally cracked the code. For 7 days in a row now, I have been able to get to zero at the end of the day before leaving. Wanna know how I did it? Here’s what I’ve learned…

1) Create folders only around people, not topics. Create as few folders as possible. 

2) Group individuals as much as possible. (I chose to organize mine based on two categories I read about from Patrick Lencioni – The Team I’m On and the Team I Lead).

3) Color code your groups (and all the individuals in that group the same color). 

4) Avoid going straight to the mass inbox. Instead, go to the groups. Prioritize them. I now start with the Team I’m On before reading anything else. Then, I move to the Team I Lead, etc. 

5) Create filters to eliminate the junk.

6) Finally, go into the mass inbox and get through it. Try to check email twice per day for about 30 minutes each. Set some boundaries. Creativity loves constraints.


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