Inbox 20


The average office worker spends 2.5 hours a day reading and responding to an average of 200 new emails each day. 

That’s on top of thousands more that fill their inbox. 

An out-of-control inbox can lead to missed deadlines, poor productivity, and a stressful day.

Many people seem to handle the chaos. Many more recognize the need to do something about it. Thus the concept of “Inbox zero,” the goal of emptying one’s inbox every day. 

For years, I lived with an inbox filled with tens of thousands of emails, many of which were unread. One day, I decided to go for “zero”. 

You can do the same, in just two steps:

Step one: identify the previous 30 days of emails, scan through them, reply to those that need a response, and flag or star anything else that needs you to do something. 

Step two: archive everything else. 

Anything older than 30 days can safely be put to bed. Archive it or use the snooze function, or forward it to your note app or task management app.

All the emails you archive will still be available to you. If you need something, you can find it via search. 

And, if someone replies to your email, it will show up again in your inbox. 

Soon, you will be looking at a pristine inbox. Enjoy the feeling. It won’t last long.

But here’s the thing. 

Inbox zero is the goal, but for many of us, “Inbox 20” is usually good enough. An inbox with 20 emails in it at one time won’t crush you. You can probably get through them by the end of the day.

20 is the new zero.

I forward project-related emails to Evernote