Inbox Zero

Email, we cannot seem to live without it. It has been around for more than 50 years, and the killer app of the 90s has remained very much the same. A lot of attempts have been made to replace, kill or improve it, yet to this day we still heavily use and depend on email. And it doesn’t seem that this is going to change any day soon.

The situation

I currently maintain four active email account, and it has become a daily chore. So, a few days ago, I decided to iterate on my approach. Rather than have a very, very full inbox with a few unread emails I decided that I wanted to archive them all and reach “inbox zero”. A totally empty inbox where every new email would make it fill up again.

The process was pretty smooth, I already worked with a system where I decided to “star” important emails that needed my attention later rather than directly. So, the first step was simply to delete all the emails that where un-starred. In Gmail this is as simple as filtering using `in:inbox -is:starred`. In one go I achieved most of my emails. Going through my starred emails took a bit longer, but as it turns out starred email can be archived as well.

Maintaining the equilibrium

Moving forward with an empty inbox it was easy to just let it fill up again. To prevent this I try to check the inbox a few times per day and respond, add to to-do or achieve each email. So far it has been a rewarding process, time will tell if I can keep it up.