Inbox to Zero in no Time [en]

[fr] Un moyen radical (et quasi instantané) pour atteindre le fameux et très convoité inbox zero.

So, having trouble keeping your inbox count down? Piling up in the hundreds, the thousands, even? I have a totally foolproof method to bring your inbox count down to [the coveted zero]( It’s been tested in GMail, but I’m sure it works in other e-mail clients too.

The best part of it is how fast it works. The result is guaranteed.

Are you ready for it? Just follow these two simple steps:

– click on “Select All”
– press the “Archive” button

There! You’re done! Inbox to zero in now time at all. It works — or you can have your money back.

Now, for the slightly more serious part.

I really did this, this summer if I remember correctly, during a conference. I mean, I wasn’t going to go through all that piled up e-mail anyway. Most of the e-mails were obsolete — when stuff is really important, people e-mail again, and again, or call you, or tweet you, or catch you on IRC or at an event.

Once your inbox actually is at zero, it’s much easier to keep it to zero. Archive without mercy. Answer easy stuff as soon as you see it (I do that to the point some people have told me my e-mails have become a bit curt, so I’m trying to add a bit of cream in again — but the basic principle remains: do it now). My inbox sometimes goes up to 40 or 50 if I stay away from the computer, but then I bring it back down again, over a few days. If I haven’t seen zero in some time, it’s time to deal with those two things lying at the bottom of my inbox for the last 10 days — or decide that I won’t, and archive them.

Sometimes, I feel I can’t keep up anymore, or don’t want to “deal”, so I archive.

Does that sound like I’m mistreating my e-mail? Sure. But so is letting it pile up in your inbox for weeks, months, and years.

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10 thoughts on “Inbox to Zero in no Time [en]

  1. Uh. This won’t work for me. I’ve got 26066 e-mails in my GMail inbox. You can only “select all” on a maximum of 100 (the max that’s visible). That would mean going through 261 pages and doing that two-click-archiving on each… Gonna take all night.

  2. Hmm… I don’t exactly remember how, but there’s a way around that. Doesn’t it ask you if you want to do “the thing” (here, “archive”) on all the other conversations too? Or maybe you could tell your inbox to show 5000 e-mails per page…

    Let me go try on one of my junk e-mail addresses and get back to you.

  3. hey Elver, looks like you didn’t really try before commenting here. Lookie:

    Gmail inbox select all works!

    Gmail selects the first 100 messages, and then asks you if you want to select all the other (not visible) ones.

    Now go empty that darn inbox, kid 😉

  4. The more open the network (in this case, your address book), the more casual messages flow in. You certainly want to address phone calls before your FaceBook inbox. This is why I keep having multiple email addresses, that I try to keep matching different activities & “networks”. When I go to any one email inbox, I more or less know what to expect there, how much priority I’m going to give it, and what is the best moment for looking at it.
    Well, that sounds great at first, but it’s still very difficult to keep those address books from overlaping. Ideally, we would have only one email address, we would be able to separate our contacts into a few categories, and the inbox would have a tab for each category. Some categories would deserve to be emptied with care, while others would not require the same kind of attention, at least not at the same time.

  5. Hey, the time-limited comment editing feature is great 🙂
    People (including me) never use the preview feature, right?

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