No matter how many inboxes you have, the productivity practice that made the biggest impact for me is in learning how to approach those inboxes.
What is the plan for tackling the tasks that come your way?
How do you manage to accomplish your goals, despite the constant noise coming from every direction?
Productivity amplifies when you look at each item in your inbox as few times as possible. Even it it's only seconds at a time, you waste time every time you look at an item and don't take the action it represents.
However, trying to finish all of the tasks as you process the inbox isn't productive either. So processing the inbox is a balancing act between touching an items as few times as necessary, and performing the task it represents at the right time.
The way I handle this balancing act - and the practice that has relieved so much stress for me - is to approach the inbox knowing that the first task is simply to make a decision on each item. And there are really only 5 possible decisions to make, which hopefully makes the time I spend making the decision as short as possible.
Here are the decision possibilities:
Deciding what to do can be a simple micro-second reaction to an item in my inbox. But there is a whole other aspect to deciding what to do that is this: deciding what to do NEXT. Deciding what to do next is the core of successful project planning and completion, and is the most cognitively demanding part of productivity. It's also the story for another day. But don't worry, I've also added that task to my project for this blog to be completed when the time comes!