Every day, 347.3 billion emails are sent, and it seems like they’re all landing in your inbox. It feels like if you don’t check your email constantly throughout the day, it’ll quickly get out of hand, and you won’t have any control over anything anymore.
Your emails shouldn’t be stressing you out so much that it’s triggering your anxiety. Nor should you have to completely ignore your inbox so that it piles up with unread emails.
Stop worrying about your emails and get control over your inbox by using the 3-21-0 method. Read on to find out what it is and how to use it.
What’s the 3-21-0 Method?
Top 10 digital marketing courses in East Delhi, Simply put, the 3-21-0 email method is a productivity technique that helps you batch emails so they don’t overwhelm you. The elements broken down are:
- 3: The maximum amount of times you check your email
- 21: The maximum time (in minutes) you spend each session
- 0: The number of emails left in your inbox
We’ll explain each part in more detail below.
Check Your Email a Maximum of Three Times Daily
Think about each time you open your inbox; chances are, you need to drop the task you’re doing, read and sort through new emails, then pick the task back up again. Our productivity can suffer greatly when faced with interruptions, so imagine how much you’re not getting done when you check your email every 10 minutes.
For maximum productivity, schedule the times for the beginning of your shift, then the middle and end. Try to avoid opening your inbox outside of these set times. If you’re finding it difficult, then turn off notifications so you’re not tempted every time you receive one.
Only Spend 21 Minutes Checking Your Emails
Once your scheduled session times arrive, hit the ground running. Set a timer on your smartphone so you know exactly when you need to finish things up and get back to work.
It’s beneficial to set up your inbox first before employing the 3-21-0 method. That way, you can make the most of every minute.
You can either first dump everything pre-3-21-0 into a folder, or you can try and work through it all first. The latter can be difficult, but you’ll have the satisfaction of a completely sorted inbox afterward.
It’s wise to unsubscribe from newsletters, promotional emails, and irrelevant subscriptions too. This can significantly decrease your incoming mail.
Whatever you choose, leave the past in the past. Moving forward, sort your email into three categories if you can’t handle any within two minutes: take action, read later, and wait for a response. You can then take care of these emails at a later time.
Utilize the inbox labels too. These can help you prioritize and categorize emails so you respond to them based on urgency and importance.
Aim for Inbox Zero
Inbox zero is where you have no new emails at the end of your session. You don’t necessarily have to answer every single one; as long as you’ve processed and addressed all emails, then consider that as hitting your goal.
Don’t get stressed out if you can’t achieve this in the beginning. Don’t try to extend the 21 minutes either, as you’ll eat up precious work time.
At the start, you can maybe get away with adding one session on days you really need it to catch up. But try to stick to 3-21-0 to ensure you’re at your top productivity levels.
What if the 3-21-0 Method Doesn’t Work for You?
While it’s effective, the 3-21-0 method won’t work for everyone, and that’s ok. After all, we all have our own personalities and work styles, so not a big deal if this organizational method isn’t for you.
Here are some other things you can try for inbox management.
Utilize the Archive Folder
There’s an archive folder in practically every email service, yet people don’t use it enough. If you’re like most people, you don’t use it at all.
If this is the case, then you’re severely missing out on a wonderful tool. When you’ve taken care of emails, you can send them to the archive folder. This means that they’re out of sight, and out of mind, but you can always retrieve them if needed.
Use an Email Management Solution
Artificial intelligence (AI) is blowing up in all areas of tech, so why not use it to your advantage? Solutions like Mailstrom can clear your email backlog so you don’t have to.
They can also wrangle all related emails into groups to make them easier to get through.
Delegate Your Emails
Who says you have to do everything yourself? After all, two heads (or more) are better than one.
Delegating and collaborating can work out well. If an email requires someone else’s attention or action, delegate the task or forward the email to the appropriate person.
You can make this easier to do by using collaboration tools, such as shared folders or project management software.
Keep Your Inbox From Becoming Unruly
If just the thought of your inbox freaks you out, then you’re desperately in need of an organizational strategy. The same goes if you spend hours wading through your emails, only to be flooded with more the next day.
The 3-21-0 method can be a fantastic place to start, as it’ll give you structure and direction for your work days. However, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t feel bad. There are plenty of other organizational tips you can use that can help you manage your inbox and stay on top of things.