This is what zero inbox looks like. How many of you have an inbox like this? Not many of you, huh. Well let me tell you how I get my inbox to look like this.
1. Sort incoming emails into different filters. I have about 15 filters that mail can go to when it is sent to me. Some are looked at more often then others. The important thing is that many of the emails I receive SKIP MY INBOX! They do not even show up there anymore. I have the mail that I can look at whenever (promotions from places like Target, West Elm, Kohl's, and Vera Bradley; notifications about my bank accounts; or information about my social media accounts) in these type of filters.
2. Import all your different email addresses to one account. This helps me reduce the time I am looking at emails because I only need to sign into one account. And guess what, you can have emails sent from other accounts skip the inbox too. That way you don't get overwhelmed or confused about any emails. Don't worry, the number of unread messages shows up next to the title of the filter (at least in gmail it does).
If (let's not kid ourselves) When you receive an email that requires only a short response; RESPOND IMMEDIATELY upon opening it. This way your inbox does not become a to-do list. If it requires more than a few sentences to respond (or it is going to take you a good chunk of time to read through) move the email to a "need to respond to" folder. I call mine "RESPOND" all in caps, that way when I have a bigger chunk of time to devote, I can just jump into that folder and start going without losing emails or forgetting about them. You can even start emails prior to putting them into this folder if you know that they are more important to deal with than other emails.
4. Check your email only at set times each day. THIS IS VERY HARD! I am still working on this one myself. I used to be a chronic email checker. Waiting in line, pull up the email; break before class, pull it up; bored, email; time to wake up (or go to bed), maybe I'll check it one last time. I have gotten myself to stop checking email before bed and I only look at emails in the morning after I have gotten my breakfast and have read through some of my favorite blogs. I am working on only checking my email at most 4 times throughout the day: after eating in the morning, around lunchtime, at 4(ish), and before I start reading prior to settling in for the night. See how few times you check your email each day.
How do you control your inbox?