organizing

empty inbox

My inbox currently has zero emails.

It’s not completely empty all the time but for the last 6 years or so, my inbox rarely consists of more than a handful of current emails.  Like most people, my inbox used to have thousands of emails (hundreds of them unread because they were junk).  Getting my inbox to zero didn’t happen overnight.  Here are the steps I took:

1.  Made a folder for every new email that came in worth keeping.

It’s important to make a habit out of sorting each of your emails.  So I think the best way to start that is to tackle each email coming in starting now.  Don’t worry about organizing past emails until you’ve gotten a handle on your current emails.  Start with broad labels for your folders like Friends, Family, Work, School, Church, etc.

2.  Every time I received junk email,  I unsubscribe right away.

3.  Once I was able to quickly delete or sort each new email that came in, I started sorting through my old emails in reverse chronological order using the same methods.

If you keep this up, the 2,000 emails in your inbox will slowly go down to 1,000…then 700…then 500…then 200… then 50…and before you know it, you will also have an inbox with only a handful of current emails.

Once I got to this point, I started using my inbox as an electronic to-do list.  For example, let’s say I get an email from my mom reminding me to schedule an appointment with our optometrist, I keep the email in my inbox until I’ve completed the task.  Once I’m done, I sort it in it’s appropriate folder.

Having little to no emails in my inbox makes me feel really on-top of things.  I recommend doing the same, especially if opening your inbox currently makes you feel really overwhelmed!

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