Inbox Zero is a pretty self-explanatory concept. In a nutshell, it’s the goal of having absolutely no unread emails sitting in your inbox and reminding you that more work still needs to be done. Despite how simple it sounds, a vast majority of people who have ever attempted to achieve it failed. Why? Because they approached Inbox Zero wrong.
Inbox Zero isn’t one of those goals that you can hastily complete during an especially productive Saturday morning and never think about it again. Unless you’re willing to cut yourself off the world and live a life of a recluse, new emails will keep coming and coming, constantly taking the status of Inbox Zero away from you.
However, with the right Zero Inbox rule-based strategy, you can easily keep things under control and ensure that your email management effort won’t go to waste.
The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. This rule can also be applied to email management as only roughly 20 percent of emails deserve our attention.
Knowing that most emails are worthless, or at least low priority, by far the worst thing you can do is install a web browser email plugin so that you’re instantly reminded of new emails as soon as you receive them. The chances are that you won’t always have the time to instantly deal with each and every email you get. Most people with email notifications turn on will simply start to ignore them sooner or later, allowing their inboxes to balloon up to unmanageable proportions.
There’s no way how you can stop the flow of emails to your inbox, so it’s critically important to make your email management efforts as consistent as possible. We recommend you check your inbox as the first thing in the morning before you start your work and then a few more time through the day. If you use multiple email services, pick one time slot for Inbox Zero Gmail management, one for Inbox Zero Outlook management, and so on.
If you’ve been using email for a while, you can most likely immediately recognize junk emails. You can save yourself a lot of time if you delete every junk email you see without opening it. Just to sure to unsubscribe from the associated mailing list as well, but more on that later.
One of the deadliest email management sins is failing to respond to important emails in a timely manner. Remember that Inbox Zero is all about having no unread emails left in your inbox. Many people who practice it are tempted to read new emails as soon as possible to see the number zero again, but they’re usually not equally keen on responding instantly. What sometimes happens then is that important emails that deserve a response get buried under a massive pile of unimportant emails. As such, you should always respond to every important email you open immediately. Keep your responses short and to the point—you’re not writing a novel, and the other person is most likely just as busy as you are.
Modern email clients come with all sorts of useful features to help you respond to emails faster. For example, achieving Zero Inbox Gmail is much easier if you know that you can press the Ctrl (or command) key and the numbers 1 to 9 to switch between tabs, or that you can expand selected conversation in the message pane.
Our last Inbox Zero tip is arguably the most important one: use an Inbox Zero app to automate the organization and removal of emails you don’t need. There are several Inbox Zero apps that you can download, but the one we recommend the most is Clean Email, an online Inbox Zero app with support for Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and all other major email service providers.
Clean Email features a unique three-step approach to email organization. First, you link your email account with Clean Email. Second, you let Clean Email automatically organize your emails into easy-to-review bundles. Third, you instruct Clean Email to apply various actions to the groups of emails it created.
The examples of email groups created by Clean Email include bounced email notifications, emails sent or received a long time ago, subscriptions and newsletters, junk emails and spam, large emails, social network notifications, and online shopping emails, just to name a few. You can move these groups to trash, archive them, mark them as read or unread, remove them, and more.
Clean Email also comes with a feature called Smart Unsubscribe, which can be applied to any group of emails with a single click. Once applied, Smart Unsubscribe will automatically move all matching emails to Trash so you will never see them again.
Apart from Smart Unsubscribe, you can also apply any other action to new emails coming to your mailbox automatically, including Mark as Read, Archive, and others. All your Automation rules will appear in a dedicated dashboard, where you can pause them, delete them, or reactivate them. Visit this page to learn more about Clean Email’s smart automation capabilities.
You can start with Clean Email for free and upgrade only when you want to. Clean Email is one of those email management applications that pay for themselves as it can make you significantly more productive, allowing you to focus on the important things in life.
Clean Email is built to work from any device and for all email clients, with additional functionalities and support added on a regular basis as new services emerge and new devices become available. One Clean Email subscription covers your mailbox across ALL your devices!