If there’s one thing you can say about Matt Cutts (known by many as the “voice of Google”), it’s that he’s never short on advice. It’s unsurprising, then, to see that his latest blog post is chock full of tips for how to start off the new year. So, how exactly does Cutts think we should spend our first few days of 2011?
According to his blog entry, Cutts thinks this is the perfect time to work on zeroing out your Gmail inbox. He doesn’t mean going through and responding to a long back-log of messages, however. Like many of the experts on productivity before him (notably Stephen R. Covey), he’s prompting people to add greater organization and make a totally clean and clear inbox their goal.
And how does Cutts tell us to do this? “Assign a label for everything in your inbox right now, then archive everything so your inbox is empty.” Acknowledging that the “ignore everything” solution isn’t ideal, he reminds us that Gmail’s features allow users to go back through their email labels from time to time, and to organize labels appropriately according to urgency. (Of course, all this is also giving an indirect plug for Google.)
Another tip for zeroing your inbox without having to worry that you’ve missed something is zero out in conjunction with Google Calendar. If there’s something you know you want to respond to, but not today, add a calendar event that reminds you to take a look at the issue. In Google Calendar, you can also provide a link to the specific email that needs a response.
Cutts also has a second piece of advice for us as we start the new year: Have a one month cleanse from social networks. While I’m sure it’s honest advice, I can’t help but laugh at the fact that this resolution essentially equates to “visit our competition less.”