The Daily Challenge: Inbox Zero


For take-back Tuesday, we challenge you to take back control over your inbox

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Inbox Zero

Time to Read: 3 Mins

Email is one of our most important communication tools. Most of us use it everyday. Yet, with masses of emails piling up in our inbox and demanding our attention, email can sometime feel like a curse rather than a blessing.

Not only is a flooded inbox a distraction, it can also lead to missed messages and procrastination due to the fact that sorting through emails can feel like a never ending project. A cluttered and overflowing inbox can also make us feel overwhelmed -- like we are lagging behind at work.

Your ability to deal with high volumes of email is increasingly important. Having a system to swiftly sort through and prioritize your emails, will make your life a whole lot easier! It feels great to have an empty inbox at the end of each day.

Inbox Zero is all about finding the “skills, tools, and attitude to empty your email inbox — and then keep it that way”. Even if an empty inbox every single doesn't feel possible, putting the ideas behind Inbox Zero to work will certainly make your inbox significantly more manageable. Below are some steps to help you get started right now.

Step 1: Create an "email bankruptcy" folder.  Anything that has been sitting in your inbox, without action for more than a few days can just as well be found from you archive. Mike Ghaffary recommends putting all of your current emails(for some people, this could be thousands) in a folder called “Email Bankruptcy”. You can start by moving everything over to this folder (giving you a clean inbox immediately) and then set aside time to clean up the folder over time. 

Step 2: Make a commitment to respond to all emails that take less than 2 minutes. If they require a task that can’t be done that day, add them to your to-do list and move them out of your inbox. Gmail now offers the option to move specific emails out of your inbox for a few hours or a few days (so you don't forget about them).

Step 3. Put time on your calendar to clean up your inbox each afternoon. We recommend doing this at the end of the day so your email will be in tip-top shape the next morning.

Pro Tip: Decide how you will handle incoming emails in the future and create a sorting system that will work for you. Make folders and labels to help you keep your inbox clean. Check out some tips on how to create folders and labels here. 

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