Can we talk about how much of a bummer email is? How much of a nag it is? Email management is just a pain in the ass, and often times it feels like we’re stressing out about our email more than we should. One way we all like to manage email is to get to “inbox zero,” but I personally found that to be too much, too. So I want to talk about why I finally just gave up on inbox zero and why it was the best thing I did for email.
So what is inbox zero?
Inbox Zero is this magical unicorn of a concept that means you’ve essentially gone through all your emails and either archived them or responded as needed. In the past month, I can think of TWO emails that needed a response from me. Two. Out of thousands that I get every month.
With inbox zero, I’d have to go through all those emails just to deal with the two that actually need a response.
No thank you.
At my current job, I maybe get ten emails all week. It’s very much non-dependent on email. After working in politics where my head was never not in my email, it’s nice to not rely on that for communications. Now that I’ve lived in an almost email free job for nine months, I rarely check email. If I check it, I check my email to see if I have any emails about job interviews.
Related Post: Why You Need a Solid Email Client
How I’m managing my emails
Now, on any given morning I may have 50 unread emails when I wake up. That’s drastically down from the hundreds I seemed to get a year ago. Slowly, I’ve been working my way, unsubscribing from things that I never read.
That helps so much, and now, I feel like I actually take the time to read some of the emails that come in. I’m still unsubscribing from things that I really don’t care about, but I’m no longer afraid to go into my inbox.
Even when I do go into my inbox, most of the time I mark things as read without opening them. But for those that are important, I use the snooze feature in Spark, my email app of choice.
Snoozing allows me to set it so it comes in as a notification later on. When I helped my sister with an essay, I snoozed the email to come back when I knew I’d getting home. That allowed me to make sure I wouldn’t be doing something important when it was time to sit down and read the email.
For emails I need to hang on to and reference later (like my tax return information for my student loans), I pin those emails so they’re always at the top of my inbox. Sometimes you need a little reminder that you still need to do your taxes.
I’d say for about 97% of my emails, I just swipe and mark them as read before getting along throughout my day.
So, why no inbox zero?
To be honest, I’m just too lazy to go through all my emails and sort them. I’m perfectly content to let my emails just sit there. The idea of going through years worth of emails to get rid of all of them, just in the name of inbox zero? That makes me a little anxious, and I’d rather just let them hang out in my inbox.
Inbox Zero seems like a great idea, but at the end of the day, I don’t have time to go through all those emails. There are more important things to do, and email should never be *that* important.