How-To Guides

Guide to Reaching Inbox Zero

It’s good to take a digital detox now and then but sometime,s this break can prove a nightmare, especially when you come back to see your inbox cluttered with thousands of unread emails.

If you came back to a clean inbox, you wouldn’t have read this article in the first place. The fact you’re here means your inbox looks like a digital version of Hoarders: Buried Alive.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to cleaning a packed inbox. Jen Dziura at helps you get rid of this issue.

The first step is to move all old/ unread emails in a new folder named “To Be Processed“. Ignore them. This is a temporary arrangement and anyone who really has urgent work will send a new, follow-up mail.

Once you’ve got your inbox down to only a few unread emails, delete spam, unsubscribe yourself from promotional material and archive pending messages from friends/ acquaintances. Do you have some mails from your boss or a colleague? Dziura advises you make notes on key themes then ask for a follow-up meeting. Do remember to take notes!

The most important part of the process is this: Dziura points out that, “For most people, a full inbox is a very, very poorly organized to-do list full of bad feelings“. Examine your inbox and make an actual to-do list.

Dziura advises you use an online document editor or spreadsheet and make a list of each email you need to act upon with a verb such as “Tell XYZ to send the proper file“.

Transfer required information into this document or spreadsheet and include a link to the specific email if you’re in Gmail or another online inbox, then archive each email.

Stop yourself from following these steps if you’re already a ‘get-it-done-and-away-with-right-now’ person. Dziura says, “It’s totally okay to make a to-do even though it might take longer than to just reply, because you’re emotionally exhausted“.

Persuading yourself take to-do list reminds you emails need to be responded on time. By making an actual/ real to-do list, you reclaim control of that space and give yourself the liberty to choose ‘delete’, ‘archive’ or ‘spam’ on everything else.

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