10 tips for reaching inbox zero (free PDF)

If you’re chronically buried in an avalanche of email, you’re certainly not alone. But the inbox zero approach might bring you some relief. Here’s a list of tips for clearing out your inbox—and keeping it that way.

From the list:

Utilize filters
Set up filters to automatically send emails with certain words in the subject or from specific senders into folders. This could also act as a catch-all spot for newsletters or social media notifications that you don’t need to get to immediately.

“The most important thing you can do to avoid inbox clutter is to prevent messages that don’t require your action or immediate attention from reaching your inbox in the first place,” said Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo.com. “Your inbox should only hold important emails. Think of it as a sacred space.”

Check email on your mobile device
A key part of achieving inbox zero is deleting emails, and a person can delete a lot of their emails after a quick glance or reply. Use brief periods of downtime, like waiting in a line, to get rid of emails.

Set up keyboard shortcuts
David Emerson, Deputy CISO at Cyxtera Technologies, uses custom keyboard shortcuts to quickly move emails from the inbox to popular subfolders. Shortcut setup depends on what computer software you use—here’s how to set them up on OS X El Capitan.

Have a tab or folder for everything
The goal of inbox zero is to have your primary inbox empty, but additional tabs or folders are fair game. Most people who subscribe to inbox zero use these to organize different kinds of emails, ranging from action categories to a holding spot for shipping notifications. Think of what folders you need the most, then create them.

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