Set Up the Trusted Trio

Brian Sun

All of this week Staffhacker contributor Brian Sun is going to tell you how to get your inbox in order, from developing healthy mindsets to reaching Inbox Zero and using the Trusted Trio system.

After moving inbox emails that need further attention to my follow up folder, transferring emails I want to store to my keep folder, deleting old emails from my hold folder, and replying to emails that take me less than 1-minute to reply to…my inbox just hit zero. Zero. And it feels oh so good.

I use the Trusted Trio system that I learned from Lifehacker. But here it is, Staffhacker style.

In Gmail, go to “settings” in the top right hand corner. It’s the little tool looking thing. After clicking on it, a dropdown menu appears, click on “mail settings.” Click on the label called “labels” that is right next to the “general” label. In the text box that says “create a new label” you’re going to create three new labels.

  1. Follow up
  2. Hold
  3. Keep

Type in each one individually and click create.

Okay, that part is done and done. The system is set up. Now, we just have to implement it.

Here’s how:

Joe opens his Gmail and there’s 13 messages in his inbox.

Joe opens them up one at time.

Joe decides whether he wants to (1) reply to the email right now which I recommend if it takes less than 3 minutes (2) reply to this email later at which point he moves the email to the follow up folder (3) move this email to the hold folder which is perfect for emails like Amazon confirmations (4) delete the email which is recommended for emails you never have to refer to again (5) move this email to the keep folder so he can refer to it later. That’s a lots of options for one email BUT it becomes second nature very, very quickly after a week or so of using the Trusted Trio.

Joe repeats this process with the other 12 emails in his inbox until it reaches zero. One of the keys to the trusted trio is getting your inbox to zero every time you check your email. I cannot put into words the peace of mind I personally experience every time I see my inbox at zero. You want to experience this, too.

Joe clears out unneeded emails from his hold folder once a week.

Joe goes through each email in his follow up folder after getting his inbox to zero and completes the necessary tasks associated with each one. Whether it’s updating his calendar, replying to his supervisor, or whatever.

Joe makes the trusted trio a part of his productivity system that keeps him on top of his email from here on out.

By Brian Sun | Posted: Mar 25, 2011
Category: Email/Communications | Tags: , , , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.

2 Comments


  1. Scott D
    January 11, 2012, 10:58 am | Permalink

    This worked great. Thanks for your hard work staff hackers!

    Reply
  2. January 11, 2012, 3:42 pm | Permalink

    You’re welcome! : )

    Reply

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