I always see people posting about how they are down to “Inbox Zero” and I get a little jealous. My inbox usually runs between 100 and 200 messages, depending upon how much I have worked in a given week, whether I am in the middle of a lot of promotions, and the shopping season. The closest I ever got before now was around 70 (specifically it was 69, but I sound like a perv for remembering that).
In my forever quest for Inbox Zero, I have come to realize that it may not be 1) practical, or 2) even desirable given the way that I organize my email. I’m sure that we all do it differently. Some of us use a lot of labels/folders; some very few. Some of us are email packrats; others delete anything over 24 hours old. Some of us use a lot of rules and filters to separate the email; others send everything straight to the inbox.
My technique has always been to use my labels/folders as long-term storage and my inbox as short-term storage. If something comes in that needs to be done, I keep it in the inbox. If I set it up as a task instead, I could move it to my tasks and delete it from my inbox. Boom! One email closer to Inbox Zero. But that’s not how I do it.
Right now I am down to 41 messages with a goal of Inbox Zero by the end of the day Friday. That’s literally my one work goal for the week. Do the other crap that needs done because it is important but focus on the inbox. It’s a great week to do it because I’ve already done all of the end of month/start of month/start of quarter stuff. A lot of people are out of office for the July 4th holiday. And it’s a pretty easy week as far as kid stuff goes.
Can I do it? I hope so. But even if I don’t, I am feeling pretty good about the progress I have made. Nothing is hiding in the inbox anymore that risks me missing an opportunity because I didn’t see it. Nothing expires this week that I have to remember to jump on quickly. It’s just a lot of work that eventually needs seen to or discarded based on priority.