I hate when you hear someone brag about being a ‘zero inbox’ person. I spend all of my time organizing and purging both my own and other people’s digital lives and I hardly ever reach the mystical number myself. These days emails hit your inbox at way to fast of a rate, it is just unrealistic to think that your inbox should sit for any length of time completely empty. That being said there are some things you can do to control the chaos while you continue to chase the virtually unobtainable goal:
Use unroll.me – Here is how is works: you sign up, they give you a list of ALL your subscription emails, you can easily unsubscribe with one click, then you get a single email digest that is easy to scan and chose what is worth opening today. Even better, you can come back to your folder later and look at everything from the past weeks or months. It’s a total game changer.
Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe! – Just because you signed up to receive emails from someone (even if they are a friend) you are allowed to not want them clogging up your inbox. If I feel bad about unsubscribing I will usually write a little note in the “tell us why you are unsubscribing” section stating that I am sad to see these emails go but I am trying to get my inbox back under control and cutting back on my newsletter intake.
Don’t make goals you can’t reach – I think it is totally unrealistic and you are setting yourself up for disappointment if you think you will actually empty all the emails in your inbox everyday (or any day for that matter). Set a goal number to stay under that is more realistic for your life. I like to keep mine to no more than 50, when it starts to creep up I just sit down and set aside some time to deal with it. If you use unroll.me and have emails from only actual people in your inbox this shouldn’t be too hard to do.
OK. Last tip – I also try to discourage friends from emailing me. When I’m in the email zone I like to keep it just clients and business. When deciding on where to go for happy hour on Friday night that is best done via text. Of course, Evites are an exception.