3 Little Steps to a Cleaner Inbox

I get it. This one’s a doozy. I started with over 1,000 emails in my inbox. There were old purchase confirmations, newsletters, email subscriptions I never read, and blog notifications to name a few.

Productivity experts say to ignore email. However, think of the benefits of an empty inbox. It’s a clean slate and what’s more productive than being able to start fresh?

Photo by MockupEditor.com on Pexels.com

Today’s Assignment: Clean out your entire inbox

There are a couple ways you can go about clearing out your inbox. I suggest doing this challenge on a computer but you could do it on your phone or tablet.

Set the timer and delete

The key to this method is not to get distracted by reading or responding to emails. Only focus on deleting emails. Try to focus on generic emails. Leave personal or client emails for another time.

I set my timer for 5 minutes. I cleared about 80 emails. I still have 940 to go. Yikes!

  1. Set the timer on your phone or computer for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Go through your inbox and delete any emails you no longer need. Use [shift]+[click] to select multiple emails in a row to delete.

Set the timer and unsubscribe

This method is similar to deleting emails. Focus your time only on subscriptions you no longer read: company newsletters, blog newsletters, product sales.

  1. Set the timer on your phone or computer for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from emails you no longer need. Use [shift]+[click] to select multiple emails in a row to unsubscribe.

Create rules

Creating rules is not only a great way to set up clutter-free inbox in the future, but it’s also a good way to purge multiple emails.

  1. Set the timer on your phone or computer for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Create client or project specific folders, folders for newsletters you want to read (but don’t always have time for) or other type of emails you like to recieve.
  3. Create rules to move emails from those senders to their matching folders. Create rules to sweep emails you no longer want to recieve or no longer need to “junk” or “trash” folders.

That’s it! Take a few minutes each today towards a clutter-free, hardly any email inbox.

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2 responses to “3 Little Steps to a Cleaner Inbox”

  1. We use gmail at our office. Because of the search, its become my own habit of never deleting anything to keep it for a papertrail. However, opening every email, even a select and open all, keeps them out of my unopened and priority list to reduce the stuff in front of my face.

    I also changed over to the 5 inboxes gmail offers. If you haven’t seen it yet, gmail just auto sorts your incoming mail into Mail, Social, Offers, Promotions, Forums and so forth to keep anything that isn’t really relevant out of your priority box. That alone has been incredibly helpful.

    I don’t have much experience with Outlook, so I don’t know how that system handles a lot of messages or what it offers.

    I did start limiting my time in email like you suggest. I have set email check periods, then set it aside and don’t look at it. Otherwise you can get sucked into a time consuming black hole of nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ben, Thanks for those great points on modern email. Also, that is a great point about keeping a paper trail.
      I started subscribing to Inside.com’s currated newsletters to keep up to date on a few topics. They pile up pretty quickly if you don’t read them daily! 🙂


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