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Tiago's Email Productivity Workflow

One-Touch to Inbox Zero: How I Spend 17 Minutes Per Day on Email

I spend 17 minutes per day on email, or 7.43% of my total work time over the past 12 months. The average information worker, in contrast, spends 28% of their time reading, writing, and responding to email — nearly 4 times as much.


The key to Inbox Zero, everyone knows, is to “touch each email only once.” But what most do not appreciate is that this level of simplicity is the ultimate sophistication — only a well-designed underlying system can make such elegant action possible.

Let’s turn back the tide and strip email down to its original function, the only one that it does better than any other tool: collecting new inputs.

Email's original function

Turn off multiple inboxes

When you’re able to One-Touch emails at a rate of one every few seconds, having multiple inboxes only multiplies the effort. It’s weird — once your email workflow gains economies of scale, you actually benefit from greater volume.

Settings > Inbox tab > set Inbox type: to Default > uncheck all Categories: except for Primary

Turn off all notifications Your email inbox is someone else’s To Do list.

This is crucial. I followed Tim Ferriss advice a few years back on stripping down notification on my phone. If I haven't done that, I think I would be less far in my life journey than I am now.

Every conceivable email you receive can be handled by just 4 downstream systems:

  • a digital calendar (G Calendar)
  • a task manager (Todoist) There are a lot of benefits to using a digital task manager, but for One-Touch purposes, there is one single most important feature: the program’s ability to capture and link back to email-based tasks.
  • a reference app (Joplin)
  • a read later app. (Pocket)

So it is importnant those apps function well.

That is our real goal — lowering our reactivity is an end in itself, because anything that forces you to react controls you.

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