Because 10 > 0
I’ve heard people recommend Inbox Zero as a way of managing your email – that you try to get and/or keep zero messages in your inbox. I’ve tried it, but I’ve always struggled, because there always seem to be a couple of emails that I’m not ready to file or delete just yet.
So I’ve come up with a solution that has been working pretty well for me for over two years – once a week, I get my email inbox down to ten or less.
Is this a joke?
No, it’s not a joke – it’s a reimagining of the goal. The point of Inbox Zero isn’t actually to get to zero emails, it’s to keep your inbox manageable. Ten is just as manageable as zero, and so much easier to achieve.
For me, if I have a shipping notice for something that hasn’t arrived yet, I may keep that around as a reminder to look for a package. If I have an email I need to respond to, that might stick around. If I have an email with information that I’m going to need in a couple of days, I’ll leave that in the inbox until then.
Why does this help?
This helps because it’s more doable. If I have 50 emails, there are probably 35 that are easy to process or file, 10 that take a few minutes but are doable, and 5 that are going to take some serious work, or are blocked. If I can get through the 35 easy emails and 10 mediums, then I’m done. I’ve winnowed my inbox back down to a manageable amount without having to get rid of emails that I actually want to keep around.
If it’s easy, you’re more likely to stick with it.
Give it a try
If you’ve tried Inbox Zero but never been able to make it stick, try getting to Inbox Ten this week.