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Maintain inbox zero

Maintain Inbox Zero


Maintaining Inbox Zero is a productivity strategy aimed at keeping your email inbox empty—or almost empty—at all times. The goal is to manage incoming emails efficiently to reduce stress, improve focus, and ensure timely responses. By adopting this approach, you can prevent email overload and create a more organized and manageable workflow.


  1. Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen - A comprehensive productivity methodology that includes strategies for managing emails.
  2. Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann - The original concept of Inbox Zero, including tips and techniques.
  3. Google Workspace Learning Center - Offers tutorials on managing your Gmail inbox effectively.
  4. Microsoft Outlook Help & Learning - Provides resources for organizing your Outlook inbox.
  5. Trello Blog: Inbox Zero - Practical advice for achieving and maintaining Inbox Zero.

Example SMART Goals

  1. Reduce the number of unread emails in my inbox to zero by the end of each workday for the next 30 days by dedicating 15 minutes at the start and end of each day to email management.
  2. Create and implement a system of email folders and labels to categorize and prioritize all incoming emails within the next two weeks, ensuring that no email remains unaddressed for more than 24 hours.
  3. Achieve Inbox Zero every Friday by setting up an automatic filing system using email filters and rules in my email client, with an initial setup and periodic reviews over the next month.
  4. Respond to all actionable emails within 24 hours and archive or delete non-actionable emails immediately by checking my inbox at designated times (e.g., 9 AM, 1 PM, and 4 PM) each day for the next 3 months.
  5. Reduce the time spent managing emails to 30 minutes per day by unsubscribing from unnecessary newsletters and setting up a dedicated time block for email management, to be achieved within the next 6 weeks.

Example Habits

  1. Check and clear your email inbox at set intervals throughout the day (e.g., morning, midday, and end-of-day).
  2. Immediately delete or archive emails that don’t require action to keep your inbox clutter-free.
  3. Use email filters and rules to automatically sort incoming emails into relevant folders or categories.
  4. Unsubscribe from newsletters and promotional emails that are no longer of interest to minimize inbox clutter.
  5. Develop a habit of responding to emails that require action within 24 hours and flagging or tagging emails that need follow-up.

Note this information is not a substitute for a professional advice and varies from person to person.