Why I Gave Up On Inbox Zero

So many bloggers have been promoting the idea of Inbox Zero. This is the feat of keeping your email inbox at zero.

Hearing my blogging friends talk about having their inbox at zero intrigued me. My email inbox was always filled with tons of emails. Over 100,000 emails at one point.

These bloggers talked about the feelings they had when they saw an empty inbox. They said it was liberating. It was freeing. It was calming.

So I decided to try it for myself. I wiped out those 100,000 emails and started my inbox at zero again. Just like starting a new email account.

At first I was thrilled with my inbox being empty. It did feel freeing.

I felt like I’d made a dent in something that mattered. After all, so many others were saying how great Inbox Zero was.

After months of trying to keep my inbox clear of emails, I gave up.

Maybe it’s not right. Maybe it is. For me, I think it’s okay to have some email in my inbox, even if I’m done with them.

Why I Gave Up On Inbox Zero

I mentioned I gave up on trying to keep my inbox at zero. There’s a reason behind that.

While I was trying to catch up, organize, and delete emails, I realized I was spending much more time in my inbox than I had before.

The pressure to keep my inbox clean was overwhelming. It was busy work. And, in the end, it honestly wasn’t all that important to me.

There’s also the fact I felt like I was doing it to impress others. I could tell my friends how I kept my inbox so tidy and neat.

Eventually, I realized it didn’t matter and if I was doing Inbox Zero to impress others it’s something I shouldn’t be doing.

So I’ve given up on Inbox Zero. But this doesn’t mean I’ve got a cluttered inbox again.

My Alternative To Inbox Zero

While I don’t practice Inbox Zero anymore, I don’t want my inbox to get cluttered again. So I’ve set up some rules for myself.

Here’s how I tame my inbox:

Junk and promotional emails are deleted almost immediately

Blog post notifications are moved to a BLOGS folder when I check emails

Important emails from friends, family, and other sources are kept in the inbox after reading

All other emails are read and then deleted

Like I said, this new method of inbox management doesn’t keep my inbox nice and tidy like Inbox Zero but it has cut down on the amount of read emails left in the inbox. It also makes me feel better than keeping the inbox clean.

I know important emails are still easily accessible, and with Gmail I can quickly search the inbox and other folders to find what I need.

This method works for me. I’m not sure if it will help you but I figure if it works for me, it’ll work for someone else.

Question: How do you manage your email inbox? Please share your methods in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.