Inbox -1

I’ve read about how keeping your inbox at 0 is a major life accomplishment and that many people have a daily struggle with it. Having had my email well in hand for more than 10 years, I’ll share with you my secrets for how to keep things in balance and never have more than 10 messages in your inbox per day (if that’s what you want).

Step 1: Service Provider.
If you’re getting your email through your website, unfiltered, and then loading it into outlook or something similar, you can cut down on massive amounts of spam by switching to something like gmail. Their service does a great job of screening messages, I get perhaps 3 spam messages a month that make it through the filters. If you can’t get gmail, look into spam software for your email client.

Step 2: To-Do Lists
A lot of people use their inbox as a to-do list. I far prefer using my calendar app and Google Keep for this. If it’s timely, it goes in the calendar. If it’s to be remembered, it’s in keep. If, for some amazing reason I have to email someone back, I do it then. Mails take less than 5 minutes and then you’ve saved yourself time later. Be a friend to future you, do things now.

Step 3: Unsubscribe Everything
This is by far the most useful tip ever. By law, mailing lists are required to provide a working unsubscribe link. A lot of companies out there will honor this request and just take you off their lists. This alone prevents thousands of messages a day in my inbox. If you have time to delete the message, you have time to unsubscribe, too.

Bonus Points: Filters
Gmail allows the creation of filters — processes that run in certain circumstances. If you don’t want to unsubscribe from a list but don’t always want to read the messages, you can save them for later and look for them when you want using filters. Tired of getting all of those fwd:s from grandma? filter everything with a fwd into a fwds folder and ignore them until the holidays.

What’s fun is the combination of these three things make your inbox almost bulletproof. You can happily share your email address with people, post it to CraigsList, etc. with little to no fear of long-term problems.