Itís been a while since Iíve geeked out here on Study Hacks about the latest productivity hack to earn my enthusiasm. So itís with some excitement that I bring up my latest favorite tip: the inbox sort folder.
Itís not uncommon for me to go two or three days without seeing my email inbox. When I subsequently return, the volume of its contents can be overwhelming. The inbox sort folder method is something I stumbled into that helps me tame this mess.
The idea is simpleÖ
1.Create a folder in your email inbox named ďsortĒ (if, like me, you use Gmail, then create a label with this name; as shown above).
2.Pick a topic that describes several of your unread messages. For example, there might be multiple messages related to a specific project, or multiple messages about a meeting youíre organizing.
3.Move all messages related to that topic into your sort folder.
4.Go into your sort folder and process through these messages until the folder is empty.
5.Return to your inbox and loop back to Step 2, looking for another topic that describes multiple messages. Repeat until the inbox is empty.
Logically speaking, this trick of moving a group of related messages to a temporary folder before processing shouldnít make a big difference.
But psychologically speaking, it does help. A lot.
Tackling a stack of messages all related to the same topic, one after another, while watching the sort folder diminish toward empty as you go, somehow ends up much easier than tackling those same messages in a scattered order as you make your way through your chaotic inbox in a less structured manner.
I canít explain the exact mechanism behind this hackís effectiveness, but it certainly does help me maintain my sanity when I have to return to the world of workplace communication after travel or long deep work binges.
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