Reaching Inbox Zero

Several times, I’ve tried to get my inbox down to zero. It’s a tricky thing with between 200-400 emails hitting my box daily. But today, I hit zero, and I’ve held the line all day. And with my system in place, I feel comfortable that I can sustain this, barring any tragedies. My recent inspiration? Julien Smith. But neither Julien nor I invented Inbox Zero as a concept. I believe credit goes to Merlin Mann.

To learn more, here’s a video:

Or, if you prefer reading, Merlin released a best of GTD post with LOTS of links to useful self-improvement stuff.

I recommend this methodology. VERY useful.

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  • http://inoveryourhead.net julien

    To anyone that’s interested in more, the system I got and shared with Chris, I got from the book Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst.

    Buy it. Your inbox will thank you.

  • http://inoveryourhead.net julien

    To anyone that’s interested in more, the system I got and shared with Chris, I got from the book Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst.

    Buy it. Your inbox will thank you.

  • http://inoveryourhead.net julien

    Oh, and btw:

    First!

  • http://inoveryourhead.net julien

    Oh, and btw:

    First!

  • http://www.christopherspenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    I’ve been sharing Merlin’s stuff as well – helpful tip, set up the contexts as tags in GMail, so when you access GMail via iPod Touch or other IMAP client, you can process on the road and then do full reprocessing when you’re at a workstation.

  • http://www.christopherspenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    I’ve been sharing Merlin’s stuff as well – helpful tip, set up the contexts as tags in GMail, so when you access GMail via iPod Touch or other IMAP client, you can process on the road and then do full reprocessing when you’re at a workstation.

  • http://suzemuse.wordpress.com Susan Murphy

    Congratulations on reaching “inbox 0″! I’ve always been a bit obsessive-compulsive about keeping the messages in my inbox streamlined as much as possible, mostly because I’m a bit of a chronic worrier so if messages are burning a hole in my inbox it makes me very uncomfortable.

    The inbox does get away from me sometimes, but when that happens I’ll just set aside some time to file everything and then I feel better.

    My secret has always been when I check email (and I’m trying REALLY hard to adopt the Timothy Ferriss method of once or twice a day at the most!) I deal with each email immediately. I respond, or forward to the appropriate person for processing, or I make a phone call, or whatever. If I need more information before I can respond, I leave it in the inbox until I am able to respond. And all those chain letters, slideshows and cute puppy pictures are immediately deleted, without a second glance.

    This system works pretty well for me, and I don’t tend to miss important stuff.

    I think there is no one right or wrong way to achieve “inbox 0″…everyone organizes their work differently. This is just what works for me.

  • http://suzemuse.wordpress.com Susan Murphy

    Congratulations on reaching “inbox 0″! I’ve always been a bit obsessive-compulsive about keeping the messages in my inbox streamlined as much as possible, mostly because I’m a bit of a chronic worrier so if messages are burning a hole in my inbox it makes me very uncomfortable.

    The inbox does get away from me sometimes, but when that happens I’ll just set aside some time to file everything and then I feel better.

    My secret has always been when I check email (and I’m trying REALLY hard to adopt the Timothy Ferriss method of once or twice a day at the most!) I deal with each email immediately. I respond, or forward to the appropriate person for processing, or I make a phone call, or whatever. If I need more information before I can respond, I leave it in the inbox until I am able to respond. And all those chain letters, slideshows and cute puppy pictures are immediately deleted, without a second glance.

    This system works pretty well for me, and I don’t tend to miss important stuff.

    I think there is no one right or wrong way to achieve “inbox 0″…everyone organizes their work differently. This is just what works for me.

  • Pingback: The Blog According to Buzz » Blog Archive » Inbox Zero

  • http://www.gimp.tv Michael Murray

    Quite the feat!

    As time go on there are even more opportunities to maintain inbox zero. Better question are we overextending our social communities that they are no longer personal?

    Example: There are a few tech personalities who created their brand and base from maintaining a personal connection with their audiences. The larger they got the more distant they became with their core base. Sad…

  • http://www.gimp.tv Michael Murray

    Quite the feat!

    As time go on there are even more opportunities to maintain inbox zero. Better question are we overextending our social communities that they are no longer personal?

    Example: There are a few tech personalities who created their brand and base from maintaining a personal connection with their audiences. The larger they got the more distant they became with their core base. Sad…

  • http://www.northhillsbuzz.com Jason Peck

    I have successfully reached inbox zero. Feels great.

  • http://www.northhillsbuzz.com Jason Peck

    I have successfully reached inbox zero. Feels great.

  • http://davidgiesberg.com David Giesberg

    Inbox zero is pretty great, you just have to make sure that you’re not overfiltering, causing you to spend all that time that you were spending in your inbox in lots of little side folders.

  • http://davidgiesberg.com David Giesberg

    Inbox zero is pretty great, you just have to make sure that you’re not overfiltering, causing you to spend all that time that you were spending in your inbox in lots of little side folders.

  • Pingback: Great Video- Inbox Zero « Neecy Writes!

  • http://www.doitmyselfblog.com Glenda Watson Hyatt

    Thanks Chris, great information. I like the idea of moving everything to another folder – to be dealt with as time permits – and starting fresh with inbox zero. I’m going to try that.

  • http://www.doitmyselfblog.com Glenda Watson Hyatt

    Thanks Chris, great information. I like the idea of moving everything to another folder – to be dealt with as time permits – and starting fresh with inbox zero. I’m going to try that.

  • http://www.youlay.pl Youlay

    And it’s worth to listen (while comuting) podcast:
    Productive Talk Compilation: 8-episode podcast with GTD’s David Allen
    http://www.43folders.com/2006/11/28/productive-talk-comp
    http://odeo.com/show/3351643/1005364/download.mp3

  • http://www.youlay.pl Youlay

    And it’s worth to listen (while comuting) podcast:
    Productive Talk Compilation: 8-episode podcast with GTD’s David Allen
    http://www.43folders.com/2006/11/28/productive-talk-comp
    http://odeo.com/show/3351643/1005364/download.mp3

  • Pingback: How to organize your email inbox

  • Stephan

    Congratulations… is it still empty? I manage (most days) for my work email (and it does feel great), but run out of steam for my private one in the evenings – too much backlog there!

  • Stephan

    Congratulations… is it still empty? I manage (most days) for my work email (and it does feel great), but run out of steam for my private one in the evenings – too much backlog there!

  • http://AnnArborRealEstateTalk.com Missy Caulk

    Chris, if you only knew how much I need this. I am definately going to put some of it in practice. WOW,I’ve shrunk it down and am listening.

  • http://AnnArborRealEstateTalk.com Missy Caulk

    Chris, if you only knew how much I need this. I am definately going to put some of it in practice. WOW,I’ve shrunk it down and am listening.

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    WOW,I've shrunk it down and am listening.

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  • http://www.savetubevideo.com youtube downloader

    The inbox does get away from me sometimes, but when that happens I’ll just set aside some time to file everything and then I feel better.

  • http://www.savetubevideo.com youtube downloader

    The inbox does get away from me sometimes, but when that happens I’ll just set aside some time to file everything and then I feel better.