zero inbox

a screenshot of my gmail inbox showing only three or four messages

Recently, I started practicing zero inbox. I didn’t read any specific how-to articles or books, I just implemented it based on these two principles:

  • DON’T USE YOUR EMAIL AS A TO DO LIST.
  • MESSAGES: DELETE, ARCHIVE, OR DEAL WITH THEM.

A quick search for “zero inbox” turned up this article and a 2007 Google TechTalks video on YouTube featuring Merlin Mann:

Inbox Zero – Merlin Mann – 2007

Merlin’s approach is a more nuanced (and probably more efficient) than mine. My approach is simpler:

  • I CHECK EMAIL between tasks and scheduled work periods.
  • I DELETE messages that have no informational value.
  • I ARCHIVE messages that seem to have some informational value. If the topic comes up in the future, I can search for it.
  • I DEAL WITH IT by replying to the message, adding a task to my to do list, and archiving the message. The to do task is linked to the archived email message.

This system works for me. It reduces my stress, mess, and effort.

Published by Rolfe DH

I've been writing since I had my first pen and a notebook. I've played with open-source software since I had my first computer. Now I apply these skills to making the world a better and more exciting place.

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