January 1, 2020

Get Into an Inbox-Zero Habit

When people ask me for productivity advice, the first thing I tell them is to get into an inbox-zero habit.

  • Roughly, this means processing your email inbox at least once a day according to the following principles:
  • If it doesn’t require any action, archive it
  • If it can be dealt with in under a few minutes, do it, then archive it
  • If it will take longer, transfer it to your task manager (most task managers have integrations to make this easy), then archive it
  • If you need to follow up on it or need the information at a known point in future, snooze it
  • After finishing this process you should have zero emails sitting in your inbox!

For me, the main benefits are:

  • I’m more reliable: I know that if something is in my inbox I haven’t dealt with it yet, so I’m much less likely to miss important stuff or forget to take action.
  • I’m more chill: A cluttered inbox is distracting and stressful. A nice clear inbox gives me peace of mind that I’m on top of everything.