The quest for inbox zero

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I tend to be pretty good at developing systems and workflow, but I’ve been struggling to reach inbox zero for YEARS.

When work gets busy, so does your inbox and I always seem to be busy.

I’ve always used Mac Mail (I’m a huge Apple freak and using anything other than Apple feels like cheating) but I started to get seriously bogged down. Folders everywhere. Inbox full of everything. The stress of more mail constantly coming in.  Gaaah!

But then the other day I was talking to the fabulous Jo Gifford, aka The Dexterous Diva, Queen of Smart Working. I told her that whenever I feel like I’ve let my emails slip, I feel dreadful, like I’m a failure.

Her advice?

Get on Google Inbox.

That made me think. Maybe it’s not me. Maybe I’m not a total failure. Maybe my lack of inbox zero is due to using the wrong tool … maybe?

So I tried it out. And by “tried it out” I mean I obsessively stayed up until midnight trying to get it right, and hey – I think it might be working!

Inbox is a Google app you can sign up to if you have gmail. You can still switch between the two if need be, but to be honest I was never much of a gmail fan (Is that a collective gasp I can hear from the Google app freaks?).

So what do I love about it?

  • You can bundle emails around subjects, topics, clients, or whatever works for you. It makes finding that thing you’re looking for so much simpler.
  • You can snooze your emails. If something pops up that you want to push back to the next day, or even the next week, you can! It has really helped me get rid of that sense of urgency I feel when I haven’t dealt with an email straight away.
  • You can pin important emails to your inbox so they don’t get buried.
  • I can use it seamlessly on destop and iPhone.
  • You can easily unsubscribe with a button right at the top of the email.
  • Images and videos show automatically as part of the email (it’s the small things).

And yes, before you ask, I did manage to get down to inbox zero (mostly by snoozing, but hey, it worked for me). There are a bunch of add-ons you can, erm, add on to improve the performance. But all in all, it’s a winner for me. 

The other technique I’m implementing is dipping into my inbox three times a day only. Having a schedule for checking my emails helps me stay out of my inbox and get work done. It has also helps me set boundaries and expectations for my clients and colleagues, so that I don’t feel pressure to respond straight away.

I’m really pleased to finally have this all under control – it’s my biggest bugbear. If any of you decide to switch over to Gmail Inbox, or have more amazing email management tips, I’d love to hear from you.



For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.