Emptying Your Email Inbox

How full is your inbox? Email messages will collect (and multiply, it seems!) there if you think that moving or deleting emails means you will forget to follow up. Without a trusted way to handle incoming emails, you will constantly battle a bulging inbox.

To keep your inbox clean,  get good at

  1. Deciding what each email means to you. Ask yourself what each email implies. Is there something to do or is this just FYI? If it is something to do, willyou do it now or later? If it is FYI, do you need to file it or trash it when you’re done? You can use the “one touch” rule here: strive to open, read, and decide the meaning of each email just once instead of letting it linger.
  2. Recording your tasks. If an email implies a task, capture that task in your system of lists.
  3. Moving or deleting inbox emails. Once you’ve decided what each email means, move it to an archive folder or delete it as appropriate.
  4. Reviewing your lists. Read through your lists of tasks at least daily so you can trust that your system will help you follow up on important things.

Apply this consistently and soon you will have tamed your inbox.


In your corner,


3 thoughts on “Emptying Your Email Inbox

  1. Mike
    I keep a “pending” file for things I may need to reference later, but require no action. Then as the list “stale dates” I delete the old items with virtually no risk of deleting something important.

    1. Hi Debbie,

      This is a great idea! Have you heard of the fast technique for clearing folders like you “pending” folder? Sort it by sender’s name. You can delete or continue to save whole swaths emails quickly because we generally work with people periodically.


Leave a Reply