'Yesterbox' is a way to handle your email inbox created by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com.
His problem was, like with many of us, that he received too many emails and found himself constantly chasing his inbox to keep up.
By handling your inbox with the 'Yesterbox' principle, you can easily bring your "emails to reply"-list back to 0 and keep it that way without spending countless hours in your mail program.
The rules of the game are quite easy:
1) You're only allowed to handle the mails that came in yesterday
You never know how many mails will come in today and how much time it will cost you to handle them. That's completely different with yesterday's emails: you know exactly how many mails you have to deal with and you are absolutely sure that no new ones will come in. So you can make a very good estimate of how much time you will need to get through all of them, and once it's done, it's done, no surprises.
2) If it can't wait for 48 hours, it shouldn't be in your inbox
48 hours, that's the maximum waiting time between receiving an email and your answer going out. This is the extreme case where an email reaches you exactly at 12 am and you reply at the latest possible point of 11:59:59 pm the next day. So in most cases, your email will be answered much faster.
If the answer to an email is really that life-threatening that it can't wait for 48 hours, then you can question whether that issue needs to be handled by email. A phone call or a more direct way of communication is then probably more suitable.
3) Make it a daily habit
By handling your emails with the Yesterbox principle, you make a statement and a promise to the world. So make sure you are a beacon of integrity and that you keep your promise of replying within a maximum of 48 hours. As such, make 'going through yesterday's emails' a standard item of your daily routine.
4) It can only take you 10 minutes
There are only 5 possible actions you can take when handling an email: reply, forward, delete, file or schedule. So make sure each mail doesn't take you longer than 10 minutes. If the reply is going to take you more time, e.g. when you need to look something up or need to formulate things very precisely, then combine the 4th and 5th action: file that email in the appropriate folder and schedule replying to it in your agenda. And to make sure you don't loose track of it, specify -in your calendar- the title of the email and the folder where you stored it.
5) Schedule more time when needed
If you fall behind and have emails that are older than yesterday's inbox (like when you have had a vacation and didn't want to follow up on your emails), schedule additional time in your agenda to catch up on emails older than yesterday's inbox.
6) Step out and change the 'norm'
Handling your email with the Yesterbox principle is not yet the 'norm' (whatever that might mean). So when you're about to get started with Yesterbox, know that you are doing things in a different way. However, by doing things differently, you can make a difference. In this case, the difference of being on top of your mails and not being a slave of your inbox; the difference of looking at emails as information instead of communication and putting real-life conversations above unpersonal writings; the difference of being able to focus and use your energy for those things that really matter; the difference of achieving what you're striving for.
So step out, change the 'norm' and share it with as many people as possible, because the more people start using the Yesterbox principle, the more people will regain a relaxed attitude towards their inbox and the more true human connections will surface again.
7) 99,9% of all the problems you will ever experience in life have already been solved somewhere by someone
A strong statement originating from the TRIZ creativity theory. And this Yesterbox principle is a good example of it. When you are struggling with your inbox, you're not the only one. And most likely, some people have already experimented to find a solution (in this case the CEO of Zappos). So you don't need to reinvent the wheel. It's already there. You just need to know where to look.
Some help with knowing where to look is always a plus. And that's where deep professional coaching comes in: we help you find your full potential by questioning and analysing your specific situation and offer specific ways to surmount your struggles to realise your biggest and boldest ambitions.
Do you want to reach your full potential and improve your effectiveness with other hacks like this Yesterbox principle?
Then give us a call, directly book a conversation in our agenda to connect, or send us an email (and then wait 48 hours max for us to reply ;-) ).
Written by Dennis Fredrickx
, Integrity Coach & Business Booster
Dennis helps Ambitious Leaders to reach more in an easier way.