28 days to Living Organized
Email: Clear The Backlog
You've set out on a good course of tackling new messages as they come in and not letting them sit as a to-do list in your Inbox.
Now it's time to deal with those many months (or years) of email you have to catch up on. There are several ways to do this and anyway that gets your Inbox to Zero is appropriate.
One option (not my favorite) is to move all the old stuff to a "Old Stuff" file that you will defer until you have time to go through it. This is not my favorite because I know that personally I would just leave that file there forever and never go through it.
A better option (in my opinion) is to simply tackle it with a few easy steps.
1. Sort by the "FROM" column. This will make it easy to see ones that be quickly deleted.
2. Follow the 6 rules - Delete/Archive, Delegate, Respond, Defer, Do
3. Delete/Archive - this should be the easiest category. If you've had them this long do you really need them anymore? Probably not. I expect most things will fall into this category
4. Delegate & Respond - Unless these emails are only a few days or weeks old it is probably well past the time to make any kind of response. But there may be a few in there that still require you do respond or ask someone else to respond.
5. Defer - Um.... haven't you already done this long enough? Forget this category and do one of the others
6. Do - A favorite here, right after Delete
It may take you awhile depending on how much backlog you have. I suggest setting a timer or putting a few songs on a playlist and challenging yourself to get through as much as possible (all?) in 15-30 minutes. If you don't get through all of it you can set aside another time later in the week.