Can YOU get to "Inbox Zero"?

Is it possible? Can one really have an email inbox with zero messages in it? And I don't mean a brand-spanking-new-right-out-of-the-box-email address, either. I mean your real everyday active addresses, the ones you use day in and day out.

True confessions... how many messages are in your inbox, waiting for action? Wasting space? Making your head hurt? Here's what Merlin Mann at 43 Folders says:
Just remember that every email you read, re-read, and re-re-re-re-re-read as it sits in that big dumb pile is actually incurring mental debt on your behalf. The interest you pay on email you’re reluctant to deal with is compounded every day and, in all likelihood, it’s what’s led you to feeling like such a useless slacker today. Maybe? Think about it.
Ouch. I'm at about 160 at work (a lot got ignored today while I tackled a big data project, but that number's been creeping up again lately anyway). Only 78 in my gmail. I'm scared to look at my other account (it gets digests from Yahoo groups) -- oy, it's 482. Clearly, I need help. I don't know if I can ever maintain "inbox zero," but frankly, if I could get to about "Inbox 40" in each account, I'd be thrilled.

I do use email folders at work, but email, like paper, doesn't file itself. I guess it will filter itself, though... more investigation needed! I've got housecleaning to do this weekend, but I'm going to read the system and give it a try next week. It surely can't hurt!

via Mental Floss


katelnorth said...

My address that I use for all my groups (and a lot of other stuff too) is a yahoo address and I filter all the groups into their own folders - makes it easier to read that way, and means I know what I can ignore or let sit for a while. What's in the actual inbox is maybe 20 messages or so - many of them are blog comments I haven't replied to, or things I know I will need next week...

My other email address isn't used much, so the inbox is usually fairly low there. Though I do have some stuff saved for reference. DH, though, saves everything he needs in his inbox - he has hundreds of messages saved that way. Would drive me bonkers, but it works for him.

Tammy said...

I have a junk email address at Yahoo (when I want to sign up for whatever and it asks for an email address. And it got up to over 3000+ before Yahoo created a "select all" button that allowed me to delete everything at once. Before I could only do it page by page. Ugh.

My gmail accounts are getting up there too. I just can't bear to delete stuff -- especially wonderful blog comments.