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Inbox Zero Challenge Day 1: Archive Old Messages

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Inbox Zero


Today is day 1 of our 5-day inbox zero challenge. Thank you for joining!

There are hundreds of fellow AE fans from all across the world taking this challenge, and we are looking forward to sharing this journey with you.

During the week, we will be posting one new tip each day to help you achieve (and keep) inbox zero. The tips are quick and easy to implement and will provide the framework for you to manage and process your email inbox quickly and efficiently – no matter how many messages you may get in a day.

Imagine having a system you can trust for processing your email that eliminates the fear and dread associated with opening your email application. Picture yourself confident that everything you have to deal with is in the appropriate place so that nothing falls through the cracks.

It’s possible.

Who is this challenge for?

This inbox zero challenge is for people who:

  • who have anxiety about opening their email because they are ill-prepared to deal with everything they may find there
  • don’t have enough time to sit down and develop a systematic solution that would allow them to stay on top of their email
  • spend more time dealing with email than they’d like and are looking to get more efficient at it
  • want to achieve inbox zero but haven’t in a long time

If this challenge is for you, commit now. Research shows that committing to friends and family about a new ritual helps with follow-through.

Tweet: I’m starting my #AsianEfficient inbox zero challenge! Tweet: I'm starting my #AsianEfficient inbox zero challenge!

Now let’s dive in with the first inbox zero challenge.

Challenge #1: Archive all messages in your inbox older than 30 days in your “Archive” folder.

The first step to the challenge is to archive old emails (anything older than 30 days) in your “Archive” folder so you can work with a manageable number of emails as you go through this challenge.

Why would you want to do this? We have found, from working with thousands of people on their email, that emails older than 30 days don’t make any difference. Whether you reply to them 30 days late or 6 months later, the difference is negligible. It’s safe to assume that you can archive those emails. If it’s important enough to get your attention, the sender will send you another reminder email about it.

Think of it as stripping away the fat and unnecessary emails so you can get more quickly to the core – the truly important emails. They’re the ones that have been sent within the last 30 days. While archiving a bunch of emails isn’t ideal, it’s important that we set ourselves up for success. You see, Inbox Zero is not a one-time event. It’s a state of being which is more easily achievable if you establish a solid system. But you have a much better chance of implementing a system that sticks if you make a few compromises at the beginning that will set you up for success.

Notice I didn’t say delete your emails – just move them to your archive folder. That way you don’t have to worry about losing anything as they’ll still be searchable and you’ll be able to quickly locate anything if you actually do need it in the future. But archiving those messages will give us a much more manageable number of emails to go through as we progress through the challenge.

We recommend you set up one “Archive” folder and move everything in there. If you’re a Gmail user, you can simply press the “Archive” button to get the same effect without having to create that folder.


Congratulations! This may not seem like much, but you’ve now set up the foundational framework for an efficient email processing system. By identifying the storage place of all messages that you ultimately want to keep, you now have a place to put those emails when you’re done with them instead of leaving them in your inbox. In other words, you’ve created a “definition of done” for the emails that come into your inbox as they end up one of two places:

  1. Your archive folder (if you want to keep them)
  2. The trash (if you don’t)

Check back tomorrow for Challenge #2, and let us know in the comments below if you’re in!

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Posted by Paul  | March 28, 2016 at 7:17AM | Reply

Done and done!

BTW, small bug on your commitment Tweet button: pulls through “I’m starting my #AsianEfficient journaling challenge!

Posted by Marcus  | March 28, 2016 at 8:17AM | Reply


Posted by Glenn  | March 28, 2016 at 8:20AM | Reply

I’m doing it but important to note that you saved them for a reason – so add it to your to do / task manager to address these issues (if still relevant)

Posted by Perry Bruns  | March 28, 2016 at 8:26AM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Scott  | March 28, 2016 at 8:27AM | Reply

Wow! Already feels better to not have all those emails clouding my view. Great tip!!!

Posted by Andrei Iancu  | March 28, 2016 at 8:29AM | Reply

All done. Blank inbox is here :)

Posted by Debra  | March 28, 2016 at 8:31AM | Reply

Here’s hoping to complete this challenge. I’m really going to try.

Posted by Rachel McCormack  | March 28, 2016 at 8:32AM | Reply

Done – and interesting to see how the numbers break down: there were fewer emails than I’d guessed would go to archive (which is good) but they represent stuff I feel stuck on or bad about not doing (which is not good!) Looking forward to tomorrow :)

Posted by Katherine  | March 28, 2016 at 8:36AM | Reply

Wow! I am retired and spend a lot of time with my email I could use for something fun. With all the things I subscribe to, my inbox has gotten a bit out of hand. I just archived over 14,000 emails! That was really liberating. I still have 190 in my inbox but I feel like tackling it now. Looking forward to tomorrow’s tip.

Posted by Alexander  | March 28, 2016 at 8:38AM | Reply

I’m in, and have completed the first part of the challenge.

Posted by copper  | March 28, 2016 at 8:39AM | Reply

Apple’s Mail also has an archive folder these days. You can assign a particular folder to the task using the “Menu Mailbox>Use This Mailbox As>Archive Mailbox” and then the shortcut key is “ctrl-command-A”.

Posted by Peter  | March 28, 2016 at 8:40AM | Reply

N/A for me, no emails older than 30 days in my inbox.

Posted by CK  | March 28, 2016 at 8:42AM | Reply

Done. That was easy enough.

Posted by Denis  | March 28, 2016 at 8:43AM | Reply

Thanks. already have the folder, but may automate the 30 day archive as a rule.

Posted by Tomas  | March 28, 2016 at 8:44AM | Reply

Feels good and like a got a weight lifted from my shoulders.

Posted by Mark  | March 28, 2016 at 8:45AM | Reply

All done but it took me longer than I had expected. I created an Apple Mail Smart mailbox, however, I needed to Archive the emails based on their respective mailboxes. I have 1 for work, 1 for my Charity work, 1 for Personal and 1 for SPAM. SPAM was pretty much delete but the others I needed to handle separately. Any ideas how to best handle this so I can build it into my system?

Posted by Nicole  | March 28, 2016 at 8:54AM | Reply

What a great first step. Using this for my work email. It already feels more manageable.

Posted by Bill  | March 28, 2016 at 8:57AM | Reply

That was easy.

Posted by Leonardo  | March 28, 2016 at 8:57AM | Reply

First step: done! :-)

Posted by Nils  | March 28, 2016 at 8:57AM | Reply

Started your challenge today. But #1 was n/a for me too, as I have nothing older than 30d in my inbox.
Anyway, looking forward to getting your next challenges.


Posted by Billy Mansfield  | March 28, 2016 at 9:02AM | Reply


Posted by Justin Dinerman  | March 28, 2016 at 9:05AM | Reply

Done. Great tip.

Posted by Danny  | March 28, 2016 at 9:06AM | Reply

Done – and looking forward for the next step ahead.

Posted by olivier choquet  | March 28, 2016 at 9:09AM | Reply

Easy starting !
In fact I am doing that at the end of every month… I should do it more frequently.


Posted by Chris A  | March 28, 2016 at 9:09AM | Reply

Started the inbox challenge today as well. Looking forward to see that number drop to zero and stay there.

Posted by Israel Lang  | March 28, 2016 at 9:11AM | Reply


Posted by PaulD  | March 28, 2016 at 9:11AM | Reply

I am confused . When you say ”Arhive” you mean a folder named Arhive or you arhive all the x nr of emails
Thank you !

Posted by Briana  | March 28, 2016 at 9:12AM | Reply

Holy moly, that was a lot of email! My Outlook inbox at work went from 6799 to 890 emails, and my gmail went from 14,601 to 1243. MUCH more manageable!

For those wondering how to easily find and archive those emails in Gmail (as I did), here’s the quick overview:
– In the “settings” dropdown menu (the gear icon at the top right of your emails, select “Configure Inbox”.
– Uncheck all the folders, if you have any, so everything is showing up in your inbox.
– Use the search “older_than:30d” and then select all using the checkbox at the top left
– At the top of all the messages will be a link that says “Select all messages in this search”, or something to that effect. Click that.
– Use the archive button (the one that has a down arrow) to send them all, and wait a few minutes!

… Happy archiving!!

Posted by Frank  | March 28, 2016 at 9:17AM | Reply

That’s easy. Pretty easy.

Posted by Lisle  | March 28, 2016 at 9:19AM | Reply

good first post. Looking forward to the rest of the week and mastering Zero Inbox

Posted by Vibhor  | March 28, 2016 at 9:20AM | Reply

it is amazing
earlier i had a misconception for archive, but now i am all set for this just because of #AsianEfficient inbox zero challenge!

Posted by Dale  | March 28, 2016 at 9:20AM | Reply

Nothing older than 30 days but getting close to it…

Posted by Finn  | March 28, 2016 at 9:20AM | Reply

I’m looking forward to this week. Thankfully, I don’t get too many emails but all of them need replies or are actionable in some way. I really wish there would be more stuff I could just archive. It felt great.

Posted by Robert Mallin  | March 28, 2016 at 9:21AM | Reply

Step one, done!!!

Posted by Tajinder  | March 28, 2016 at 9:23AM | Reply

How to select email that is older than 30 days in gmail? Either it let me select all or just 50 odd emails that are on the first page of many on the current screen.


Posted by Steven  | March 28, 2016 at 9:24AM | Reply


Posted by Derek  | March 28, 2016 at 9:28AM | Reply

Nailed it. Thanks!

Posted by Sergii  | March 28, 2016 at 9:29AM | Reply


Posted by Robby  | March 28, 2016 at 9:31AM | Reply

Done! Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Posted by Dustin  | March 28, 2016 at 9:31AM | Reply

First step done! No messages to remove for me :)

Posted by Erin  | March 28, 2016 at 9:32AM | Reply

Done, though I would feel better if I had a decent search function available.

Posted by Phil  | March 28, 2016 at 9:37AM | Reply

All done – but had a few accounts to tackle separately (eg Exchange)

Posted by Elaine  | March 28, 2016 at 9:48AM | Reply

I’m in! I have a filtering system and I had to let go of a lot that had been filtered into ‘newsletters’

Posted by MCB  | March 28, 2016 at 9:51AM | Reply

I’m in

Posted by Jeff  | March 28, 2016 at 9:51AM | Reply

That was a lot of emails to archive. (Sigh).

Posted by Mary Benson  | March 28, 2016 at 9:58AM | Reply

Thanks for those directions, Briana! I had not used any of those commands and didn’t even know I could be doing that. I would have gone screen by screen. . .

Posted by Dom  | March 28, 2016 at 9:59AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Mary Benson  | March 28, 2016 at 10:00AM | Reply

That is a relief. I have read about certain people only opening their regular mail every 3 weeks, on the theory that anything important would have already been dealt with, which made me less anxious about archiving everything older than 30 days.

Posted by Robin  | March 28, 2016 at 10:01AM | Reply

So long, farewell, aid Wiedersehen, goodbye to call my old emails!

Posted by Brad  | March 28, 2016 at 10:02AM | Reply

Dedicated to completing all five days. Thank you for another AE learning opportunity!

Posted by Thorsten  | March 28, 2016 at 10:06AM | Reply

Started and Done. I’ll give it another try to reach Inbox – Zero.

Posted by Boon Shin  | March 28, 2016 at 10:15AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Michael Setnicky  | March 28, 2016 at 10:17AM | Reply


Posted by Clemens  | March 28, 2016 at 10:18AM | Reply

The ones are now in the archive.

Posted by Debbie  | March 28, 2016 at 10:22AM | Reply


Posted by Louise  | March 28, 2016 at 10:22AM | Reply

I’m in! Challenge 1: complete. :)

Posted by Sergei Kolobov  | March 28, 2016 at 10:25AM | Reply

Done! So glad to see I’m down to only 66 conversations in my personal Inbox. I can always search for the older messages if needed – they are still there in All Mail (I’m using Gmail).

Posted by Michael  | March 28, 2016 at 10:25AM | Reply

All set. Ready for #2 tomorrow!

Posted by Heather  | March 28, 2016 at 10:34AM | Reply

Done :-)

Posted by JL JAB  | March 28, 2016 at 10:39AM | Reply


Posted by Chris  | March 28, 2016 at 10:40AM | Reply


Posted by Jan Depta  | March 28, 2016 at 10:50AM | Reply


Posted by Bonnie  | March 28, 2016 at 10:53AM | Reply

Wow, that was easy – and feels good. @Copper, thanks for the Apple Mail tip, good to know!

Posted by mlg  | March 28, 2016 at 10:54AM | Reply

Done. A little anxious about archiving those old messages that I need/want to keep, but I know you guys will have a plan to address those that will be way better than leaving them in my inbox.

Posted by Tom  | March 28, 2016 at 10:55AM | Reply

Done! Thanks, Briana, for the clear GMAIL directions. Your method worked a treat.

Posted by Michael  | March 28, 2016 at 10:57AM | Reply

Good tip. I actually did it this morning before reading the challange – even if my folder has another name, the principle is the same

Posted by ATL  | March 28, 2016 at 10:57AM | Reply

N/A. Nothing older than 5 days.

My physical inbox, however, is a disaster zone. I’ll work on that when I get home and report back.

Posted by Ysabel Woody  | March 28, 2016 at 10:58AM | Reply

Very excited to clear it out! I love a fresh start.

Posted by Eva  | March 28, 2016 at 11:01AM | Reply

Started the challenge today :) My inbox contained 14777 mails, and is down to 186 Emails. And during the process I also did some sorting out. I am surprised that there are still so many emails left, counting only those of the past 30 days. Surely, I need to do some work on the archive as well – but one step at a time. Curious to see what’s coming up next :)

Posted by Suhrid G  | March 28, 2016 at 11:05AM | Reply

First step done. Looking forward to the next inbox zero challenge!

Posted by Joe  | March 28, 2016 at 11:10AM | Reply

Let’s do this!

Posted by Frank  | March 28, 2016 at 11:17AM | Reply

1616 down…..912 to go….Perfect time of year for a program like this….before it gets too deep :)
Thank You!!

Posted by Veeyah  | March 28, 2016 at 11:32AM | Reply

I’m all in and can’t wait for the next challenge.

Posted by Martijn  | March 28, 2016 at 11:32AM | Reply

In and done! :)

Posted by Tracy  | March 28, 2016 at 11:34AM | Reply

On board. Great tip! Also added an OS X 10.11 Mail rule to automate this process every 31 days. Nice to see my Inbox go from 840 messages down to a much more manageable 16 not yet dealt with messages.

Posted by Andy  | March 28, 2016 at 11:36AM | Reply

Done! Does it count that I already practice inbox zero, have optimised it to my own workflow but just wanted to join the challenge to see if I can help anyone in the comments?


Posted by Ann Schmitz  | March 28, 2016 at 11:39AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Brovaktaren  | March 28, 2016 at 11:41AM | Reply

I’m in. Usually store stuff to specific, project related mail folders. Will try a unified archive for now.

Posted by Mike  | March 28, 2016 at 11:44AM | Reply

Much easier to search than look at a full inbox.

Posted by Katherine  | March 28, 2016 at 11:53AM | Reply

All done, although I’ll admit that basically everything that I archived were AE newsletters and Dojo emails that I wanted to read but hadn’t gotten to yet. So now they’re all in Evernote so I can dig into the links. So much content, so little time…

Posted by Jeanie  | March 28, 2016 at 11:59AM | Reply

So hard to resist looking through everything to figure out if it should be saved or deleted! I just archived it, without looking at it all. And with my promotions/update/forums folders, I just deleted everything. I also found a bunch of emails I never opened, deleted a bunch of them and found a few gems, or articles I wanted to read and are now very relevant. This was an easy enough task. Thanks.

Posted by Nick  | March 28, 2016 at 12:01PM | Reply


Posted by Peter Banerjea  | March 28, 2016 at 12:02PM | Reply

I am in! Just had one email older than 30 days though.

Posted by Janeson Keeley  | March 28, 2016 at 12:05PM | Reply

Well, THAT was an eye opener! There were a lot of emails that had been hanging out in my inbox for 30 days (or longer) that I could either handle in two minutes, delete, or archive. I’m feeling lighter already!

Posted by BS  | March 28, 2016 at 12:07PM | Reply

Done – that was easy!

Posted by Steve  | March 28, 2016 at 12:11PM | Reply

I have my many different projects set up as different folders in my in box. I try to file my emails in there once I have created a todo or have dealt with them…This is a great help and leaves my adrenalin levels reasonably low. However my problem is leaving this for a few days and it becomes so overwhelming it causes stress.

This challenge will help me stay committed to emptying my in box daily?

Posted by James DeLoach  | March 28, 2016 at 12:14PM | Reply

Excellent step 1 – not very many over 30 days, but there were several nagging older ones out there – this forced me to address them and move on. I should have done that weeks ago and wouldn’t have had been using headspace on them.

Looking forward to the rest of the process…

Posted by Jaime  | March 28, 2016 at 12:17PM | Reply

Done!! Good suggestion! Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Posted by Jon W  | March 28, 2016 at 12:22PM | Reply

Nice — all gone.

Posted by Michael  | March 28, 2016 at 12:24PM | Reply

Got a little shocked as I thought the mails where gone because I saw the archive folder only after restarting Apple Mail.

After archiving about the half of 260 mails I am surprised about the ratio of archived to mails from within 30 days. And I felt an urge to go through the archived instead of the new ones.

Posted by April  | March 28, 2016 at 12:31PM | Reply

I found it initially hard to let go of these but glad I did it. yeah – step 1!

Posted by Leon  | March 28, 2016 at 12:44PM | Reply

Done :)

Finally on my way to inbox Zero

Posted by Jason Lewis  | March 28, 2016 at 12:44PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Thijs  | March 28, 2016 at 12:54PM | Reply

I’m in – Today however N/A for me as the inbox is already with e-mails not older than a month….

Posted by Gizem  | March 28, 2016 at 12:54PM | Reply

Done. Admittedly it was only one email (I do manage to get to Inbox Zero on a regular basis, but eventually it escapes me every time. Maybe this time will be different :) )

Posted by Stuart  | March 28, 2016 at 12:59PM | Reply

Done, just need outlook to catch up with what seems like a mammoth reindexing!. Look forward to hitting zero

Posted by Jason  | March 28, 2016 at 1:06PM | Reply

Should have done this long ago as a quick catchup. Done!

Posted by Susan  | March 28, 2016 at 1:06PM | Reply

I think I went just a tad overboard with the archiving in one account and archived even the up-to-date stuff (in the Social tab in Gmail :O )
It does kill me because I know a lot of that stuff could be trashed if I just had the time to go through it…
Eagerly awaiting the next tip!

Posted by Erzsebet  | March 28, 2016 at 1:06PM | Reply

I’m in, and I have just completed the first part of the challenge!

Posted by Wilson  | March 28, 2016 at 1:09PM | Reply

Done. The interesting thing about the remaining ones is that more than half of them are in the Promotions tab.

Posted by Nagesh  | March 28, 2016 at 1:09PM | Reply

Completed the 1st Step as indicated. I am in.

Posted by RadDoc  | March 28, 2016 at 1:10PM | Reply


Posted by Jason  | March 28, 2016 at 1:11PM | Reply

@David Negrin As stated in guide, your Gmail accounts will automatically be archived by clicking that icon in webmail, or depending on your email client the Archive Message option will do the same. In my experience Exchange will do the same and create an Archive folder automatically (using Apple Mail), not sure about hotmail. My best suggestion is to do it for one email in each account and examine the behaviour. Create an Archive folder next if you need to. Apple Mail Archive option will use that folder afterwards.

Posted by Nagesh  | March 28, 2016 at 1:11PM | Reply

Completed the 1st Step as indicated, I am in.

Posted by Kim  | March 28, 2016 at 1:12PM | Reply

Done, but not sure if that makes me feel better… now I wonder what’s lurking in that archive folder..

Posted by Phill Coxon  | March 28, 2016 at 1:16PM | Reply


Posted by Jon Bash  | March 28, 2016 at 1:16PM | Reply

Well, I didn’t actually have anything older than 1 day in there since I archive everything every day… but I did take this opportunity myself to ask myself why things are in my inbox, and take action to make them not needed there anymore. :D

Posted by Anne W  | March 28, 2016 at 1:23PM | Reply

I’ve done this trick before (at your recommendation) and it was GREAT. I went back to systematically work through them and it helped me focus on the more current e-mails.

Posted by Ratana  | March 28, 2016 at 1:23PM | Reply

There’s something so satisfying about seeing those little e-mails ‘disappear’ from my inbox and into the Archives/Trash! Day 1, complete.

Posted by Rick  | March 28, 2016 at 1:42PM | Reply

Step One completed

Posted by Marcin  | March 28, 2016 at 1:45PM | Reply

OK, this looks nice, but what if I actually don’t use a folder-based email client? For me, “archiving” means “deleting from the server and leaving only on my disk & backup”, and I don’t even have an “inbox”. The closest thing for me are bookmarks: “today’s messages”, “messages since yesterday”, “messages from the last 7 days” and “unread messages”. So, while technically I do have an “inbox”, my search-based email client doesn’t even have an easy way to view it. (It doesn’t mean that my email setup is without problems. It’s not. What haunts me is hundreds of old messages marked “unread”, which means that they may require some action, and I hope the challenge will contain some kind of solution for that.)

Posted by Aaron M  | March 28, 2016 at 1:59PM | Reply

Done. I’m in

Posted by Cecilia  | March 28, 2016 at 2:10PM | Reply

Done! But I got a lot of mail in the archive folder!

Posted by Lisa  | March 28, 2016 at 2:14PM | Reply

I really need this challenge! Inbox went from 12,000+ emails to 151. Looking forward to getting to Inbox Zero. Thanks!

Posted by Stephen  | March 28, 2016 at 2:24PM | Reply

Great tip – done!

My work email was pretty much okay (nothing >30 days) but my personal email inbox was in a bad way! Things are looking much better there now.

It’s a bank holiday here, so a good day to get started.

Looking forward to day two.

Posted by Avid Reader  | March 28, 2016 at 2:26PM | Reply

All done! 45,000+ messages in inbox shrunk down to 484. Took several minutes even for Google servers just to process this junk.

Posted by Pedro  | March 28, 2016 at 2:29PM | Reply

OK, done. Step one completed.

Posted by kay  | March 28, 2016 at 2:44PM | Reply

I’m done!

Posted by Marieke  | March 28, 2016 at 3:43PM | Reply


Posted by Andrew  | March 28, 2016 at 4:26PM | Reply


Posted by Chris Lassiter  | March 28, 2016 at 4:34PM | Reply

I am excited to be “in” on Day 1! There is no one whom I trust more than the Asian Efficiency team in helping me overcome my inbox anxieties and overall e-mail management phobia.

Let’s do this thing!

Posted by JW  | March 28, 2016 at 4:55PM | Reply

I archived 853 of 946 emails in my personal inbox, which I lost control of about a year ago when our newborn was arriving. Work email inbox only had about 30 messages, 15 older than a month (I have pretty strict filtering rules to keep my work inbox neat). I went through the 15 old ones individually which were mostly trash or links to articles I wanted to read later. DONE :)

Posted by Barry Canfield  | March 28, 2016 at 5:30PM | Reply

Maybe this is the kick I need to get back on that Zero Inbox status. Just done it for Home and Work mailboxes

Posted by Kim  | March 28, 2016 at 5:34PM | Reply

Done! =) I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders … or rather from my inbox. hehe! Thank you for the tip!

Posted by Luisa  | March 28, 2016 at 5:42PM | Reply

I can’t wait to feel efficient! DAY One = CHECK!

Posted by Alejandro  | March 28, 2016 at 5:51PM | Reply

1st challenge done!

Posted by Raoul  | March 28, 2016 at 5:54PM | Reply


Posted by sleepydwarf  | March 28, 2016 at 6:19PM | Reply

Done this for home email. Work will have to wait till I go back tomorrow!

Posted by Dan  | March 28, 2016 at 6:22PM | Reply

Done, done, and done… three different email addresses to manage. A fairly painless process that makes be nervous. Why can’t I trust archive like so many others?

Posted by Mark  | March 28, 2016 at 6:27PM | Reply


Posted by Matt  | March 28, 2016 at 6:44PM | Reply

That was painful to do but somewhat relieving afterward. Whew!!

Posted by Paul Weber  | March 28, 2016 at 6:47PM | Reply


Posted by Jeff Leger  | March 28, 2016 at 6:51PM | Reply

Done and it feels great!

Posted by Lovidia  | March 28, 2016 at 6:57PM | Reply

Day 1 complete. I’m looking forward to the next challenge.

Posted by Frank  | March 28, 2016 at 7:00PM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Terri  | March 28, 2016 at 7:00PM | Reply

This didn’t apply to my work address, but I decided to do this for my personal email, which I had become somewhat numb to what was there.

Posted by John  | March 28, 2016 at 7:07PM | Reply

I am in deep! I am close to zero right now, but cannot seem to stay there consistently. I am hoping the challenge will teach me to stick to the habit!

Posted by Brandon  | March 28, 2016 at 7:09PM | Reply


Posted by Ray  | March 28, 2016 at 7:15PM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Caroly  | March 28, 2016 at 7:55PM | Reply

Sweet relief.

Posted by Gordon L  | March 28, 2016 at 8:03PM | Reply

Reset….we begin again.

Posted by David  | March 28, 2016 at 8:16PM | Reply

Thanks Jason, I’ll give it a try.

Posted by Graeme Hill  | March 28, 2016 at 8:31PM | Reply

I’m done
Archive complete

Posted by Annag Chandler  | March 28, 2016 at 8:33PM | Reply

Getting there. Travelling now and some of the old emails are waiting to have attachments read and saved.

Posted by Jay  | March 28, 2016 at 8:37PM | Reply

Done and looking forward to day two!

Posted by Michele  | March 28, 2016 at 8:48PM | Reply

I use Outlook, not Gmail. I read the article last week and moved what was older than 2 weeks into my “Processed” folder (I archive everything at the end of each year.) However, I did a quick check first so that anything important moved into “Tasks” before wholesale filing the rest.
I must admit that by not having so many to look at in the inbox, I can get through my emails much faster every day. (Not checking email over the weekend let it pile up again, but I should be at zero by the end of the day again.)
I’ll hang in, but I have a feeling you are just going to follow the system you have written about before (filing into reply, waiting, tasks, etc.)

Posted by Maxime  | March 28, 2016 at 8:51PM | Reply

Done. I put my faith in you. :)

Posted by Cathy  | March 28, 2016 at 8:53PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Daniel  | March 28, 2016 at 8:53PM | Reply

Ok, done. I still have a couple hu

Posted by Curtis  | March 28, 2016 at 8:56PM | Reply

All Archived…

Posted by Bob  | March 28, 2016 at 9:17PM | Reply

I’m in!

I have been using Evernote as my email archive. Unfortunately, it is so easy to get email into it that it becomes a bit of a junk drawer!

Posted by Jane  | March 28, 2016 at 9:39PM | Reply

David, my situation is very similar to yours – a couple of part time roles, a research project and some professional issues to stay up to date with, and so I have 4 email addresses. 2 of these email addresses are on Exchange accounts. I have these all feeding into Mail on my mac.

If others have know about simple steps we can take to create rules or automate this process that would be fantastic! Suggestions need to be simple though … I have not been able to set up a folder called ‘archive’ on one of my addresses and I get a message saying there is already such an folder, although I cannot see it.

Still, I managed to set up one archive folder for one email account, and have moved a few thousand emails to archive.

This felt great! Now I have to face up to learning the steps to do the same with my other accounts. Sometimes the learning/set up feels very daunting

Posted by Anne  | March 28, 2016 at 10:08PM | Reply

Great first step. My question: What’s your advice for multiple email addresses? I currently have an archive folder for each one of them as some are IMAP accounts that sync the folders, others are POP accounts.

Posted by Cathy  | March 28, 2016 at 10:12PM | Reply

Thanks for posting the steps to follow to archive gmail messages older than 30 days, Briana.

Posted by Patty  | March 28, 2016 at 10:27PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by APW  | March 28, 2016 at 10:35PM | Reply

Done. Looking forward to the inbox zero week!

Posted by Gail  | March 28, 2016 at 10:40PM | Reply

When I delete my mail from one device, it is still in the inboxes of my other devices. Is there a way to delete so that they are deleted or moved across all my devices at once so I don’t have to delete each email on every device individually?

Thank you.

Posted by Kimi  | March 28, 2016 at 10:44PM | Reply

Done! I have been working on my email all weekend in preparation for this Challenge. I like the logic behind this step. Thank you!

Posted by Louise  | March 28, 2016 at 10:45PM | Reply

Done ! : )

Posted by Joshua Fritsch  | March 28, 2016 at 10:52PM | Reply

There is something so very satisfying about watching those stress-holding, old emails disappear into the abyss… done!

Posted by EMA  | March 28, 2016 at 10:56PM | Reply

All complete! Looking forward to this :)

Posted by Allan  | March 28, 2016 at 10:57PM | Reply

One day closer to zero :-)

Posted by Mark  | March 28, 2016 at 10:59PM | Reply


Posted by Caroline  | March 28, 2016 at 11:01PM | Reply

First step done!

Posted by EMA  | March 28, 2016 at 11:06PM | Reply

Done and done… excited for the next lesson!

Posted by Mike Dodson  | March 28, 2016 at 11:19PM | Reply

I didn’t have any messages in my inbox over 30 days old, so this step was easy. :-)

Posted by Peter  | March 28, 2016 at 11:30PM | Reply

So far so good!

Posted by Taylor  | March 28, 2016 at 11:56PM | Reply

Done! (I cheated because all of my emails were from the past 2 weeks.)

Posted by Kat S  | March 29, 2016 at 12:03AM | Reply


Posted by Matt  | March 29, 2016 at 12:12AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Morgan  | March 29, 2016 at 12:34AM | Reply

In 👍🏻

Posted by Kevin  | March 29, 2016 at 1:00AM | Reply

I am in. Step 1 done, and I agree with the information on importance of emails older than 30 days and on stickiness of commitments. Looking forward to step 2.

Posted by Ken Choat  | March 29, 2016 at 1:06AM | Reply

I am in and really looking forward to the challenge and encouragement from everyone else.

Posted by Jamie Otelsberg  | March 29, 2016 at 1:36AM | Reply

done :)

Posted by Árpád  | March 29, 2016 at 1:38AM | Reply

This was easy.

Posted by Hans  | March 29, 2016 at 1:45AM | Reply

Very easy to do and immediate impact. Looking forward to Tip 2!

Posted by Philipp  | March 29, 2016 at 1:45AM | Reply

Also in with the challenge, fortunately nothing to do right now, no old emails

Posted by Kate  | March 29, 2016 at 1:54AM | Reply


Posted by Neil  | March 29, 2016 at 2:25AM | Reply

Done — and I’m in!

Posted by hef920  | March 29, 2016 at 2:45AM | Reply

Omg, why am i so excited about this…there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Posted by Chris  | March 29, 2016 at 2:57AM | Reply


Posted by Hanna  | March 29, 2016 at 3:05AM | Reply

Done! :)

Posted by GW  | March 29, 2016 at 3:08AM | Reply

I’m in. A clean Inbox feels great.
I have made tow folder
2. Archive
1. ToDo which also was added to my Todoist app.

Posted by Susan  | March 29, 2016 at 3:43AM | Reply

Woo Hoo!
Done! 198 emails swallowed.. I’m using Apple mail’s archive “on my mac” & have set a rule to auto move any emails over 30 days into the archive :)

Posted by Paul  | March 29, 2016 at 3:45AM | Reply

Im taking care of personnel email accounts now.
I will take on the work account in the morning.

Posted by ping zhang  | March 29, 2016 at 4:18AM | Reply

I have set up a folder for my old mail before 2 or 3 months.
It is nothing to do today.

Posted by Philipp  | March 29, 2016 at 4:26AM | Reply


Posted by Jaap Wiering  | March 29, 2016 at 4:36AM | Reply

The oldest mail is now from March 23: a newsletter from AE.

Posted by Stewart  | March 29, 2016 at 4:37AM | Reply

Done. Moved 680 mails from my personal account, leaving 215, and 977 from my work email, leaving 63.

I’ve tried several attempts over the last 12 months to get to Inbox zero and it lasts for a while but I have tended to fall into the trap of “I’ll leave it in the Inbox for now and archive it later” and never really do.

Posted by Rob  | March 29, 2016 at 4:38AM | Reply

Only mails from the long weekend there now!

Posted by David Harms  | March 29, 2016 at 6:26AM | Reply

I am in for the challenges,,,, I need the help to get organized using my email. It does feel good to get all those older emails archived so I can see what I have to work with. Looking forward and am curious of tomorrow’s challenge!

Posted by Gustav  | March 29, 2016 at 6:47AM | Reply

I’m in :)

Posted by Lisa Hoekstra  | March 29, 2016 at 7:59AM | Reply

Thanks for the tip! I love all the work you do and look forward to this challenge. I know my in box will thank you as will the peace of mind I will receive in taking more control of my email. I’m all in!

Posted by MB  | March 29, 2016 at 8:39AM | Reply

Done! I’m in

Posted by Mark Mason  | March 29, 2016 at 8:43AM | Reply

I’m in! Thanks guys. Email archived.

Posted by Zoltan  | March 29, 2016 at 8:48AM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Phil  | March 29, 2016 at 8:51AM | Reply

This is on!!

Posted by K  | March 29, 2016 at 9:01AM | Reply

Done! Though traveling and in another time zone — already I feel better!

Posted by Lisa F  | March 29, 2016 at 9:02AM | Reply

I’m in – had to set up two archive folders due to work/personal email conflicts but otherwise this was easy enough.

Posted by Hani  | March 29, 2016 at 9:05AM | Reply

i am in

Posted by JD  | March 29, 2016 at 9:09AM | Reply

A day late but I’m in!

Posted by Jeff Grosse  | March 29, 2016 at 9:21AM | Reply

Great to be starting this challenge already at Inbox Zero, but looking forward to the tips that can keep me that way.

Posted by Toby  | March 29, 2016 at 10:27AM | Reply

I am in.

Posted by Carolyn  | March 29, 2016 at 10:30AM | Reply

It was difficult, but I did step one! Of course, I’m late adding comment . . .

Posted by Bruce Farley  | March 29, 2016 at 10:31AM | Reply

I’m in–this one wasn’t too hard–after coming back from 4plus days of being sick–it just took a few hours to handle them all (respond | delete| turn into task, etc.). I can’t live sustainably with that much time going to email so hoping | trusting this is really going to provide some help….

Posted by Stephen Byrne  | March 29, 2016 at 10:35AM | Reply

I’m IN (better late than never). Great tip and thanks to Briana for the steer on “older_than:30d” search in Google Mail!

Posted by Bob DeSilets  | March 29, 2016 at 10:36AM | Reply

Fantastic! My work inbox is now down to 570 messages since 2/28/2016. I filter a ton of messages every day (400+), but there are still a bunch that hit my inbox that I don’t deal with regularly. I’ve been triaging my Google inbox because I didn’t consider it my “important” email and have been ignoring stuff that has built up over time. I’m now down to 117 messages there (!!!!), and I think I’ve filtered 10000 + to my archive box. I didn’t realize how much of a weight I was carrying until this simple, hard cutoff.

Posted by Francesca  | March 29, 2016 at 10:41AM | Reply

Europe was on vacation yesterday.
I hope my comment counts for the final prize.
I will comply with your 5-d challenge as I need to get rid of this frustration around emails. I am sure you will give this misding tiny info which will make the difference.

Posted by Rick  | March 29, 2016 at 10:41AM | Reply

This is my holy grail! I’m in. I use Sanebox so I suppose I should apply the 30 day rule to those boxes too? i.e., @sanelater, @sanenews, @ sanebulk?
Thanks for the motivation AE.

Posted by Alison  | March 29, 2016 at 11:21AM | Reply

I’m in, but already regularly archive emails as it’s company policy. Our inboxes have a limited capacity. I look forward to the next tip…

Posted by Melissa  | March 29, 2016 at 11:45AM | Reply

I usually keep my inbox down to less than 20 emails anyway. So there were none that were 30+ days old!

Posted by Matt Vincent  | March 29, 2016 at 12:00PM | Reply

I’m a day late, sorry! But I will say that I don’t have any emails older than 30 days so nothing to archive there. But I do love the idea of archiving emails rather than trying to place them into curated folders. What a time waster that was!

Posted by Claire  | March 29, 2016 at 12:28PM | Reply

Done! not for the first time, alas..

Posted by Adi S.  | March 29, 2016 at 1:11PM | Reply

My e-mails are auto-archiving after 15 days, so the first task is accomplished.

Posted by Enwongo Ettang  | March 29, 2016 at 1:29PM | Reply

I know I am a day late to this challenge, but I am done!!!

Posted by Gil  | March 29, 2016 at 3:16PM | Reply

Wonderful idea!!!!
All done with 4 accounts!!!!

Posted by Susan  | March 29, 2016 at 4:13PM | Reply

I’m late for everything. That’s another thing I have to work on – time management – there’s never enough of it. Hopefully this challenge will handle the time I spend (waste) on processing my email. Done! (but I’m nervous about what I put in there)

Posted by Divaldo  | March 29, 2016 at 4:13PM | Reply

Challenge accepted and first day completed!

Posted by Daryl Barker  | March 29, 2016 at 4:21PM | Reply

Love the archive idea rather than delete – think I’ll set up an Outlook rule to do this automatically… If it can be done this way by using rules…

Posted by Eric  | March 29, 2016 at 4:25PM | Reply

Easy first step. Thanks!

Posted by Rob M  | March 29, 2016 at 4:51PM | Reply

Ouch. That was more painful than I thought it would be! It took a day and a half to bring the merciless guillotine down on the older messages. And yet, I’m now looking a remarkable thing: only 88 messages in my inbox. Looking forward to seeing what Step #2 brings!

Posted by Katie Shesko  | March 29, 2016 at 10:52PM | Reply

I’m in. Getting to it a day late due to a deadline, but better late than never.

Posted by Amit Taneja  | March 30, 2016 at 1:12AM | Reply

I am in and I completed the Challange

Posted by Tay YZ  | March 30, 2016 at 9:12AM | Reply

Yes ! I am in.. I want to zero my in box.

Posted by Jocelynn M Mosley  | March 30, 2016 at 10:06AM | Reply

So I started a bit late but better late than never. Didn’t realize how many old emails I had until I did this challenge.

Posted by Bruce  | March 31, 2016 at 9:38AM | Reply

Late start, but I’m in.

Posted by Sue  | March 31, 2016 at 11:45AM | Reply

Finally getting to Step 1, but better late than never!

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