How to Reach Inbox Zero (and Why It Needs to Happen)

How to Reach Inbox Zero (and Why It Needs to Happen)

For most people, Inbox Zero seems impossible. How to keep up with the constant barrage of messages? Learn how to reach Inbox Zero and why it needs to happen.

If you're like most Americans, you probably have a ton of unread emails. The average American has around 500 unread emails, and most of them are extremely bothered by this fact.

But while you might have viewed this dirty email box as a minor inconvenience, it's probably causing you more stress than you realize. If you were to go to inbox zero right now (the state of having managed all of your emails), you'd find yourself not just with a clear email, but a clear mind.

Need more convincing? Then you've come to the right place. This article will walk you through how to clean up your inbox now, and teach you the benefits of email cleanup.

Understand the Philosophy

The first step — to both understanding and execution — is to get the philosophy behind inbox zero. Inbox zero isn't about having no unread emails. Close to 300 billion emails are sent a day, and busy people can get over 100 in a single day — it would be virtually impossible to read all of these.

Inbox zero is, instead, about making sure that you have all of your emails accounted for. Think about the difference between having read all of your mail, and keeping it filed. It isn't about reading every single thing that comes, it's about not having letters spread out all over your desk.

It might seem strange to think about it, but at the end of the day, inbox zero is a state of mind. It's all about making sure you're comfortable and focused in your online working environment.

Understand the Science

But inbox zero isn't just a matter of thoughts — it's also a matter of science. Scientists have proven that checking emails more and more leads to stress.

Once again, inbox zero isn't about reading and checking all of your emails. Instead, it's about minimizing the number of emails you have to read and reducing the impact the emails have on your life.

When you think about it, it's easy to understand why reading too many emails leads to stress. It breaks your focus and scatters your brain in a ton of different directions. Checking up on your email can become a sort of addiction, and eliminate the difference between work and home.

Set Some Filters

The first step to embracing this philosophy is to limit the number of emails coming in. What's the point of reading all of those emails if a ton of them are going to be BS either way?

Identify common terms that you find in the subject line of spam emails that come in. Set some spam filters to keep emails with these terms out. This will vastly reduce the number of emails you have to read.

Set limits for the weekend, vacation, or off-hours. If you happen to go away from work for a certain amount of time, consider turning on a service that lets potential emailers know to contact you after you return.

Create Some Folders

Obviously, there are a certain amount of emails that are going to interest you. You can optimize your consumption of these emails by creating some email folders.

Figure out which emails are of the highest importance — most likely work-related emails. Filter these into an urgent folder, or read them and answer them right away. It could also help to have a folder for emails that you've read but haven't responded to yet.

Emails of slightly lower importance should go in their own file as well. These could be emails reporting on products or services that you bought.

This can go on further and further as you go down the list of importance.

Set Times of Day

Part of the point of inbox zero is to eliminate the need to constantly and obsessively check your email. To help you do this, you should set specific times of the day that you will devote to reading your emails. This will allow you to focus on the important emails and not get distracted by them throughout the rest of your productive day.

Make It Easy For Yourself

All of the above items on this list are good to do on your own. But what if we told you that there's a way to have it all done for you automatically?

Invest in a great inbox cleaning service, and you'll take a tone of the problems of going inbox zero off of your shoulders.

A good inbox cleaning service, such as Mailstrom, automatically sorts your emails for you and lets you control which emails you put the kibosh on.

It lets you get hyperspecific in a way that no other type of service would. You can control how many emails you get at different times during the day. It will also let you know when you receive the most emails, so you can better work reading emails into your daily schedule.

On top of that, an email service like that can also help you keep your email account safe by offering encryption. On top of that, the program does not save any of your information.

Get to Inbox Zero

As you can see, it will do you a lot of good to get you to inbox zero; you might feel less stressed and wind up more productive. However, it's important to remember that inbox zero is a state of mind just as much as it is a state of your inbox. You needn't have a completely clean inbox to get to inbox zero.

Understand the philosophy and science behind inbox zero, set yourself some filters, create folders, set times of day to check, and invest in a cleaning software, and you're far more likely to achieve digital peace.

For more information, contact us at Mailstrom today.