Five Days To Inbox Zero!

Empty Inbox

I’ve been meaning to get around to achieving Inbox Zero for awhile now, but with 6,749 currently in collective Inboxes and 2714 Flagged within those – suffice it to say it’s seemed insurmountable!

So a couple days ago I took the bite and joined Asian Efficiency’s Inbox Zero Challenge.
Some people misinterpret what achieving Inbox Zero is though so to be clear, I believe this challenge will support the interpretation I subscribe to of not simply having an empty Inbox every day with nothing left to deal with — but to have a trusted system in place where every email is either:
1. Read or Replied to immediately and Archived.

  1. Flagged if requiring lengthier action later (could be in Email app only, or I think the better solution is always to send these to a dedicated task management system and Archive immediately). A good piece of software such as OmniFocus (iOS|Mac), 2Do (iOS|Mac), or Things (iPhone|iPad) will always attach a link back to the email which you can follow back if needed, even if it’s been labeled Archive or otherwise moved within your server folders.
  2. Deleted – always a good time to review if you should be either unsubscribing or setting up a filter (promotional types of things) to automatically label and remove from your Inbox as they arrive.
    I’ll update this post with my personal experience and gotchas and variations that come up along the way. Wish me luck!

Day 1: Archive all email older than 30 days

Seems scary but none of them are gone gone, just shifted out of the Inbox. Yes it’s sort of a cheat but a needed jump start when your facing such a huge pile and I agree with the thinking behind you’ll rarely dip back into those are find you missed actioning anything.

However, in my workflow I have been mostly historically judicious about Flagging emails out of those that I felt needed some sort of loose follow up or action. So those will still jump out when I triage that label/folder. I say historically because my advanced process for a while now has been to send to my task manager (and immediately Archived) if it requires more than a quick 2 minute reply.

One gotcha: I have been a bit sloppy in deleting those that I either haven’t got around to Unsubscribing from yet, or methodically know I don’t need to have Archived. Most of these come through on a regular basis so I did a quick scan for any in the 30-60 day bracket that I haven’t seen recently and did a Search all to bulk delete these.

Note: you could do the same if you needed to Star a repeating thread in bulk.
I’ll do similar for a while when I start plowing through that past 30 days and into the future.

STATUS: Inboxes=488, Flagged=2714

Jason Shanks

Jason is a Musician, UX Designer/Web Developer, Apple Consultant, Mac Genius in a past life and all around Apple Freak for 25+ years now. His first reaction to himself when conceiving of starting FWAP was, "ON,NAAB!" Which was later revealed to mean Oh No, Not Another Apple Blog!

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