Declutter your inbox in three steps

How to handle the continual stream of emails that arrive in your inbox?

The key to staying organized is to review your todos periodically. Processing your email inbox is one part of your periodic review.

I recommend reviewing weekly, with the option to schedule additional, impromptu reviews when you feel that your inbox is getting out of hand.

When you review your email inbox, here’s what you do. For each email:

  1. Determine whether this email requires further action. If no, archive it. If yes, delegate the action if appropriate.
  2. If the email requires action from you, and you can complete the action in two minutes, do it now. Then archive the email.
  3. Otherwise, create a task or project in your todo app. (I recommend using OmniFocus.) Leave the email in your inbox for now, then archive it when you complete the related task or project.

You’ll end up with a decluttered inbox, in which it is easy to find the emails you need. As a bonus, this method helps you break free from Master Inbox.

By the way: some people make a big deal of reaching “inbox zero”. But having zero unprocessed emails is not intrinsically valuable. Don’t obsess over the number of unread emails.

Just review your inbox periodically and set up appropriate todos.

Yours,

— Peter

P.S. The email app in the screenshot is Spark. It’s pretty neat!

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