In this guest post, our collaborator Sebastián Revuelta gave some very useful advice on how to get to inbox zero. But there was a very important one left, and we’re sure you’re going to make the most of it.
The D.S.A.A.S.D. Technique
“I already have hundreds, thousands of unread emails”, some of you may say; or “between 9:00am and 12:00 I accumulate tons of emails”, others may claim. However, I’m sure you’re all wondering the same, ‘how can I get to inbox zero again?’ Simple: by using the D.S.A.A.S.D. Technique. This is basically an acronym which stands for six actions that you must perform in order to clear your inbox: Delete, Store, Answer Now, Answer Later, Set a deadline, Delegate.
The D.S.A.A.S.D. in detail
- Delete. We will delete all those emails that don’t add anything worthy to our work. Don’t be shy. And if it makes you feel better, take them to a folder named ‘Delete’. You’ll soon find that you haven’t missed them at all in weeks. Empty it as often as you please.
- Store. If they contain valuable information that you may want to check later, then save the email. There are tools such as Evernote, OneNote or Outlook that allow you to store and easily find information.
- Answer Now. Apply the “2 minutes law”. If the reply takes less than two minutes, then answer. It’s the right time for that, so don’t procrastinate.
- Answer Later. If the email requires a more elaborate reply or thorough action on your part, then plan it. If it suits your business’s goals, set the day and time and go for it. And if you still don’t have a calendar, you can have one with Outlook or Gmail.
- Set a Deadline. If it doesn’t require any immediate action but you think it might be relevant in the future, just postpone it. You can set a reminder, for example, and if you’re a Gmail user you may know the “Boomerang” plugin. It is very interesting indeed because it allows you to forward yourself an email on any date you set. ‘Coolly’ said, it is sent to your future self; “informally” said, you just kick it forward!
- Delegate. Last but not least, there are some emails which are your responsibility but don’t need you to take action. In those cases, you can tell somebody else –whether it is a co-worker or an employee- to perform the tasks. When you forward such emails, you must also put them in a folder called “On hold” and review it frequently to check that they’re being acted upon.
We all let ourselves go with the email flow, without taking a second to reflect on how to optimise its use. But there may not be better-spent minutes than those we take to organise our inbox. When you customise your email management and set everything in accordance to your interests and needs, suddenly your chaotic inbox becomes a river flowing harmoniously.
It sounds good, right? Then apply the D.S.A.A.S.D. technique and boost your productivity.
Translation by Susana Castro
Sebas Revuelta is the author of Tiempo de Calidad, a blog devoted to improving time management by the use and implementation of personal productivity tools and techniques.
Image: Mathyas Kurmann