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Inbox Zero Challenge Day 5: Process Remaining Emails

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inboxzero

Congratulations! You’ve reached the last day of the challenge! Let’s take a look at the challenges you faced from days 1 to 4:

Challenge #5: Process your remaining emails

In the first 4 days of this challenge, we showed you the system that will allow you to process your email inbox quickly and efficiently.

We also helped you get control of your email list subscriptions and set up filters to reduce the number of emails you receive on a daily basis.

You are becoming a lean, mean, email processing machine.

email pull-ups

Now all that’s left for you to do is to make the final push of clearing out your inbox so you have a blank slate to work with going forward.

This is the what we call “clearing to neutral.” By starting with a clean inbox, you’ll eliminate much of the resistance that could keep you from dealing with your email in a timely manner the way that you’re supposed to. Procrastination feeds on friction, so it’s important that you eliminate it whenever possible.

This won’t be as bad as you’d expect.

With your system in place, it won’t take anywhere close to as long as you think it will for you to process those email (even if you have thousands to start with) and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that everything is where it’s supposed to be and nothing is hidden or fallen through the cracks. You’ll be much better off in the long run if you just bite the bullet and clear those messages the right way.

Efficient email writing tool for Gmail users

Are you a Gmail user? One tool I recommend to make clearing your messages more efficient is Boomerang. Boomerang is a Gmail tool that allows you to control when you send and receive email by:

  • deferring emails for later
  • scheduling an email to be sent in the future
  • returning emails that haven’t been responded to, clicked or opened

The Boomerang software developers just released a new feature that looks at the emails you write and lets you know how likely the recipient is to respond to you. Having an email that is too long, too subjective, too difficult to read or too negative will not elicit the quick response you are looking for.

This makes sense. Which email are you more likely to respond to?

  • A brief, positive email asking for a yes or no response?
  • A long winded, unclear, slightly negative email that asks 5 questions?

I know which one I’d skip.

The best part, these shorter emails are faster and easier to write with practice. That’s what Boomerang’s new feature allows you to do by scoring all of your emails based on how likely someone is to respond to you.

If the person doesn’t respond, then you can use Boomerang’s main feature of having the email come back to your inbox after a set amount of days have passed. Follow up becomes a breeze and everyone will think of you as a productive Ninja that not only responds to all of their important messages but even helps other people remember to return the emails to they send out.

Handling the Backlog

Handling the backlog is important. It helps lay the foundation for keeping inbox zero going forward. To force some urgency when clearing your inbox, set a timer.

I like to use the emailga.me as a fun way to attempt to get out of the inbox faster by having the timer and a smiley face (that gets sad if I take to long) encouraging me to speed up my typing, shorten my responses, and make email processing decisions (quick reply, put on to do list, add to calendar, add to Evernote, trash it) faster. 

While it won’t be as bad as you expect, clearing the backlog is easier said than done.

At Asian Efficiency, we have a term for tackling a not-so-fun project like zeroing an overstuffed inbox. We call it:

The Day of Pain and Suffering

day of pain

Read about the day of pain and suffering here.

Like a difficult workout, the day of pain and suffering is never fun in the moment. But it feels amazing when it’s over. The peace of mind that knowing everything is dealt with and everything is in its proper container will make your inbox feel like 1998 again. 

The Takeaway

This is the hardest part of the challenge, but it’s also the most important.

We’ve given you the tools to process your email more efficiently, now all that’s left is for you to do the work. Schedule some time on your calendar and process those remaining emails. When your inbox zero appointment comes, set a timer and get cranking. Here’s a simplified flowchart you can use (that’s part of our new, upcoming course on email):

Inbox Zero Workflow

Use the archive system and tools (SaneBox, Boomerang, EmailGa.me) we’ve shown you along the way to make the process easier.

This is an essential step because once you achieve inbox zero, you now have the systems in place to help you keep it for good.

More Email Tips

If you want more tips and hacks for dealing with email, make sure you subscribe for updates on the Escape Your Email. We have an email system that allows you to spend only 30 minutes a day on email. Sign up here and we’ll let you know when it’s available.

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119 Comments

Posted by Gil  | April 1, 2016 at 8:03AM | Reply

I did this yesterday since I had so much extra time because of the previous tips…. Woohoo!!!!

Posted by Andrei  | April 1, 2016 at 8:05AM | Reply

I’ve made 2 tasks in my calendar for morning and evening review all emails. I’ve been using it for the past few days and successfully cleared my inbox.

Posted by Phil  | April 1, 2016 at 8:11AM | Reply

Now the challenge will be to stay at this point:)
Hopefully the system put in place should take charge of that!

Posted by Peter  | April 1, 2016 at 8:18AM | Reply

With the Omnifocus Premium Posts this process is part of the “Asian Efficiency Workflow”.

Inbox empty, old mail processed, newsletters handled.

The only thing missing is to keep this “ritual” up and running in the future.

Thank you guys.

Posted by Raoul  | April 1, 2016 at 8:18AM | Reply

Done!

Posted by Curtis  | April 1, 2016 at 8:22AM | Reply

Just about there…

Posted by Mark  | April 1, 2016 at 8:26AM | Reply

So fresh and so clean!

Posted by Jonathan Winslow  | April 1, 2016 at 8:36AM | Reply

Nice ! done

Posted by Michael Setnicky  | April 1, 2016 at 8:42AM | Reply

Done! Feels good.

Posted by Robert Duffy  | April 1, 2016 at 8:43AM | Reply

Hello Zero Inbox!

Posted by Mary Benson  | April 1, 2016 at 8:47AM | Reply

I spent this time yesterday and was surprised both at how long it took and how addictive it is to get closer and closer to nothing in the Inbox. Where do we post the screenshots of our cleared Inbox to be eligible for your bonus?

Posted by Gil  | April 1, 2016 at 8:48AM | Reply

INBOX ZERO!!!!!!!!
Gmail
COMPOSE
Inbox
Starred
Important
Chats
Sent Mail
Drafts
All Mail
Spam
Trash
Circles
Friends
Fam’ly
Acquaintances
Following (1)
IGmaill
11mapVSent
(ImapVTrash (752)
@SaneLater (11)
@SaneNoReplies
Notes
More
More
No
0.65 GB (4%) of 15 GB used
Manaqe
Take me to Inbox

Posted by Tomas  | April 1, 2016 at 8:51AM | Reply

It feels amazing being on top of your inbox.

I’ve three times durong the day to review emails and so far so good.

Thanks Asian Efficiency

Posted by Katherine  | April 1, 2016 at 8:57AM | Reply

Now that I’m at inbox zero, I find I don’t get near as many emails as I thought I did. Unsubscribing from some helped a lot.

Posted by Billy Mansfield  | April 1, 2016 at 8:57AM | Reply

At inbox zero. Feels absolutely fantastic.

Posted by James  | April 1, 2016 at 9:01AM | Reply

This was an easy one because it was already done yesterday. SaneBox (mentioned yesterday) is incredible and I’m not sure how I worked without it before.

The challenge is keeping up w/ it moving forward.

Posted by Bill  | April 1, 2016 at 9:06AM | Reply

A great feeling to be at zero; now to make it part of every day.

Posted by Heather  | April 1, 2016 at 9:15AM | Reply

Done – feels so good! One thing I realized though, as someone who used the inbox as a to do list (littered among the non-important emails), I ended up with another large folder of stuff that needed responses or take more than 2 minutes. So I ended up creating three folders: 1) Urgent/Must reply today, 2) Medium Ugency (next few days), 3) Read when have time. Each morning I check the Medium folder and move the things I plan to do today to the Urgent folder (and put it on my to do list / calendar).

Posted by Elaine  | April 1, 2016 at 9:17AM | Reply

Sweet!

Posted by Brad Back  | April 1, 2016 at 9:22AM | Reply

Done! Mission (semi) Accomplished! Now this weekend I’ll go thru it and streamline, organize further, trashing a whole bunch of old stuff or stuff that’s not important.Thank you

Posted by Jan  | April 1, 2016 at 9:31AM | Reply

Clear to neutral! For work and personal inbox.
The challenges will be my travels – when on the road for multiple days with business dinners I see a lot of days of pain and suffering. Probably should schedule them…
Where can we post our screenshot?

Posted by Louise  | April 1, 2016 at 9:38AM | Reply

Done. :)

Posted by Jeff  | April 1, 2016 at 9:41AM | Reply

Done! Feels great!

Posted by Copper  | April 1, 2016 at 9:47AM | Reply

Clear. My biggest tip for this: adopt a hunter strategy and take full advantage of a single archive and fast search. A gatherer strategy — sorting things into endless nests of folders — is a waste. It’s a huge paradigm shift for most, but a needed one.

Posted by Aaron M  | April 1, 2016 at 9:55AM | Reply

Done – Thanks for the 5 Day Challenge. It was a great boost for me to stay on my daily goal of keeping my Inbox Zero.

Posted by Philipp  | April 1, 2016 at 9:59AM | Reply

Inbox empty, I hope it stays this way :-)

Posted by Robert  | April 1, 2016 at 10:00AM | Reply

Great challenge!!! #inboxtozero

Posted by Brovaktaren  | April 1, 2016 at 10:12AM | Reply

Inbox zero! Feels so good. Next challange is to keep it like that and stop hording so many folders and old emails.

Posted by Bonnie  | April 1, 2016 at 10:14AM | Reply

So close! Just 9 messages to go. Never thought this was possible, thanks for this great challenge!

Posted by Stephen  | April 1, 2016 at 10:15AM | Reply

Done – all cleared to neutral.

A word of thanks to the AE team and Mike in particular – this has been a thoroughly worthwhile experience. I very much like the format of bite-size, daily tips that build into something powerful over the course of a work week.

Jolly well done, AE – and, of course, well done to my fellow AE enthusiasts who have been doing this as well.

Posted by Luisa Frias  | April 1, 2016 at 10:30AM | Reply

So close! The merit of systems is truly awesome! Thanks for the challenge…now to keep it up!

Posted by Lisle  | April 1, 2016 at 10:33AM | Reply

ZERO INBOX for the past 3 days. I really don’t know what to do with myself with all this extra time :-)

Posted by Mark Pearson  | April 1, 2016 at 10:35AM | Reply

I have to admit I am going through a bit of withdrawal as I opened my inbox after implementing the filters and Sandbox yesterday. I went from having dozens of emails to having none. Goes to show you how much time we spend sifting through junk. I just put reminders on my calendar to review my main work inbox (3x a day) with the last one including my @SaneLater folder. Next I will do the same for my other inboxes but just much less frequency.

Thanks AE!!

Posted by Gail Packer  | April 1, 2016 at 10:42AM | Reply

Mission completed

Posted by Eva  | April 1, 2016 at 10:51AM | Reply

Inbox zero done – I sit in front of my inbox and don’t believe my eyes. It looks very very strange ;) :D
Great challenge, compliments to @ Mike and @ Zach and the rest of the AE team!

Posted by Katherine  | April 1, 2016 at 11:13AM | Reply

Both of my inboxes (Work and Personal) have been cleared to zero. I’ll admit that I didn’t have a ton to start with but things were sticking in there because I just wasn’t dealing with them. Processing the things that were stuck helped improve the flow of everything that came after which has made it easier for me to maintain inbox zero this week.

Thanks for the great tips guys!

Posted by Eric  | April 1, 2016 at 11:25AM | Reply

All done! I’ve wanted to do this for so many years, but never had a framework (or challenge), but the combination worked. Having Omnifocus and Evernote in place were essential parts of this, because it gave me a natural place to put everything. Now it’s flowing so well. Thank you!!

Posted by Suhrid G  | April 1, 2016 at 11:55AM | Reply

I am down to 1 unread email. Can’t wait to clear it out this evening and have a 0 inbox!

Posted by Suhrid G  | April 1, 2016 at 11:55AM | Reply

I am down to 1 unread email.

Can’t wait to clear it out this evening and have a 0 inbox!

Posted by Michael Peay  | April 1, 2016 at 11:56AM | Reply

Fortunately, I’ve been an inbox zero practitioner for a bit so these are more reminders (always valuable) than new ground. I do need to be more dedicated, however, to an hour of “pain and suffering” to work through the handful that I let simmer in my inbox. Only then, can I *really* be enjoying the benefits of inbox zero.

Posted by Paul  | April 1, 2016 at 12:25PM | Reply

First interpretation: “how to draw an owl” meme! :-D

Second interpretation: systems sure help, but at some point you’ve got to buckle down and do your work. True dat!

Wishing the AE team and readership a wonderful weekend and (mostly) empty inboxes.

Posted by Robin  | April 1, 2016 at 12:25PM | Reply

I reached ZERO!

Posted by Michael  | April 1, 2016 at 12:34PM | Reply

My inbox is zero!! Now I will have to keep it so.

Posted by Ratana  | April 1, 2016 at 12:34PM | Reply

Day 5, done! The first 4 days definitely made this process go much faster. There weren’t too many items to deal with in my inbox.

Now, here’s my question to you and the rest of the productivity junkies here: If you use FB e-mails, how do you process and simplify those? Sometimes prospective clients like to message me there, and I’m not a fan of FB messages or the other folder. (Meaning, I will forget to check and possibly miss something.) Would love your thoughts!

Posted by Janeson Keeley  | April 1, 2016 at 12:50PM | Reply

I have achieved Inbox Zero! Boy, does that feel good!

Posted by Árpád  | April 1, 2016 at 12:51PM | Reply

Inbox is empty :)
Reply folder is empty :D
It is a so good feeling! Have a nice weekend for all of you!

Posted by Lisa Hoekstra  | April 1, 2016 at 12:56PM | Reply

Thanks for all the great tips!

Posted by Gizem  | April 1, 2016 at 1:08PM | Reply

Done! At Inbox Zero! I love this feeling :)

Posted by Joshua Fritsch  | April 1, 2016 at 1:13PM | Reply

There’s just no getting around it. The Day of Pain and Suffering is a Must Do on a quasi-regular basis. It’s aptly named, but the payoff is huge.

Posted by Günther Wasser  | April 1, 2016 at 1:38PM | Reply

It’s a daily ongoing process. One piece at a time.

Posted by Erzsebet  | April 1, 2016 at 1:39PM | Reply

By having completed the steps you taught before, my inbox contains 5 e-mails instead of more hundreds. I am gonna deal with those tonight so I will reach inbox zero, wohoooo!!!! :)

Posted by Stewart  | April 1, 2016 at 1:52PM | Reply

Inbox Zero has been maintained.

As someone mentioned earlier, it can be surprising how few emails you receive, on average, on a daily basis. Today, for example, I have received no emails at work and less than 10 into my personal inbox. Most of those were read and then deleted with three moved to a folder named “Action” which I will deal with later – they are mainly information emails which will need some time assigned to digest and action accordingly. A corresponding task has been created in OmniFocus.

I have tried several times in the past year or so to reach and maintain Inbox Zero but old habits die hard and the Inbox starts filling up again. Thanks to the team at AE for producing these daily guides, I am determined not to slip back into my old ways.

Posted by Michael  | April 1, 2016 at 1:59PM | Reply

Processing it in 30 minute junks worked fine!

Posted by Kim  | April 1, 2016 at 2:13PM | Reply

Staring at that big pile of “reply to” emails and seeing how I can get through them all = making me want to go curl up in bed instead. Day of Pain and Suffering indeed.

Posted by Katie  | April 1, 2016 at 2:16PM | Reply

Done for my main email. I am now implementing it on business email and family email account.

Posted by Finn  | April 1, 2016 at 2:44PM | Reply

Now all I have to do is keep doing it. Then again, now that everything is set up and relatively painless, I actually might stand a chance. Thanks for the great advice.

Posted by Rick  | April 1, 2016 at 3:01PM | Reply

We have reached ZERO!

Posted by Toby  | April 1, 2016 at 3:19PM | Reply

Done. Finally also for my personal email. My work email is at zero every day, but at home I got sloppy recently. Feels great!!

Posted by Jonny  | April 1, 2016 at 3:29PM | Reply

Thanks AE for this great step-by-step, day-by-day series – really helped a lot!

Posted by April  | April 1, 2016 at 3:43PM | Reply

seriously, i can’t believe i did this!

Posted by Jocelynn  | April 1, 2016 at 3:54PM | Reply

I already did this so now I only have about 10 emails in my inbox that I’ve received today. This had made my life so much easier.

Posted by Taylor Lawson  | April 1, 2016 at 4:02PM | Reply

I did it!

Posted by Jaime  | April 1, 2016 at 4:20PM | Reply

DONE!! Feels good to be at zero at the end of day Friday. Just need to keep up on my Critical/ Urgent&Important/ Important&Not Urgent / Read folders….. Thank you for the tips this week.

Posted by JL JAB  | April 1, 2016 at 4:31PM | Reply

Done!!!!

Posted by Marc from Texas  | April 1, 2016 at 4:35PM | Reply

/Users/Marc/Desktop/Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 2.57.11 PM.png

I don’t know if the image will come across, but I started the week with about 300 emails in the inbox and got to zero this morning!

Posted by sleepydwarf  | April 1, 2016 at 4:47PM | Reply

Done! Now I’m going to go back through my to read folder & either delete or archive anything I haven’t revisited in longer than 3 months. I figure if I haven’t gone back to that stuff by now I never will. Thanks for all the tips :-)

Posted by Cathy  | April 1, 2016 at 4:49PM | Reply

What a difference! Thank you!!!
It was very helpful (and motivating) having the structure of this 5-day challenge, with the steps broken down into daily assignments. I really appreciate all the strategies and tips that you and the other participants shared.

Posted by Jeff  | April 1, 2016 at 5:00PM | Reply

Inbox is at zero. Feels great!

Posted by Cecilia  | April 1, 2016 at 5:01PM | Reply

Done!

Posted by Hans  | April 1, 2016 at 5:06PM | Reply

Thanks! Booked in calendar. Already used sane digest and yet the emails seem to accumulate. Have now booked in regular email maintenance time in calendar. I am an OF user but still (as in years!) working on making workflow work (better). One big takeaway….Have (finally) signed up to course as I need assistance in setting up and maintaining the ‘system’. BTW. Like the simplicity of language and approach of your 5 step challenge!

Posted by APW  | April 1, 2016 at 5:10PM | Reply

Great week and great advice. Thanks for breaking this into chunks! Seeing great progress.

Posted by Kimi  | April 1, 2016 at 5:26PM | Reply

“Day” of pain and suffering?! HA! Last time it took me more than an entire weekend worth and all intot he next week (yes, I had thousands of email backlogged). Then I took your advice on Unroll.me followed by SaneBox,and I am so glad I did! I worked hard on email backlog last weekend to get ready for this challenge. The challenge gave me a better understanding of why I was doing certain things (filters, for instance, I still have all that stuff to go through, yet now I know that if I don’t tend to look at them, I may just delete it completely. I am suddenly more open to checking email and keeping up with it.
QUESTION: How do you suggest I deal with those subscriptions that send out tons of email, some of which I want and are very interested in, but the rest I would toss in a heartbeat. The ones I am having an issue with use one email address for everything and I am not given the option to unsubscribe from parts of their “offerings.” Thank you for this Challenge. I got a lot out of it.

Posted by Bob  | April 1, 2016 at 6:06PM | Reply

I am another who has benefitted from OmniFocus Premium Posts to make this part of my daily ritual.

Thanks for all the help (OF and Inbox Zero) to make this a regulare part of my day.

Posted by Dale  | April 1, 2016 at 6:06PM | Reply

45 minutes of Focus needed!

Posted by Matt  | April 1, 2016 at 6:08PM | Reply

Working through the emails. This is going to take longer than today.

Posted by Frank  | April 1, 2016 at 6:11PM | Reply

Done. Inbox zero!
Thanks for all the tips.

My empty inbox: http://erdfisch.d.pr/13aUC/12v4WnAx

Posted by Dan  | April 1, 2016 at 7:28PM | Reply

This is going to be a long process, but I blocked out 30+ minute chunks of time each day for the next couple of weeks. If I need more I’ll adjust as the weeks close in. I have feeling I won’t need it though as I’m sure I’ll get on a role one of these days!

Posted by Tajinder  | April 1, 2016 at 7:46PM | Reply

Most of the emails that remain in my inbox are to myself! They are more less like a list of things to do, blogs to read and reminders! Looks like I need some other tool for that!! Hmm anyone any idea what can be the best option ?

Posted by Tajinder  | April 1, 2016 at 7:48PM | Reply

Just to add it needs to be in the face. Tasks (iPhone app) is too buried under folders and different screens. That’s why I started using email at least I’m looking at my inbox few times a day.

Posted by Alexander  | April 1, 2016 at 7:54PM | Reply

Awesome, I thought I wouldn’t get much out of this challenge as I already hit inbox zero sometimes. However getting there took considerably longer then it did today because now I have better auto labels set up, less subscriptions and a better workflow for triaging emails. Thx @AsianEfficiency !

screenshot: http://i.imgur.com/gfvrRp3.png

Posted by Morgan  | April 1, 2016 at 8:16PM | Reply

Definitely easier to do now after the first 4 steps 👍🏻

Posted by Brandon  | April 1, 2016 at 8:27PM | Reply

Done

Posted by Wilson  | April 1, 2016 at 8:45PM | Reply

This is a weird feeling. I use to empty my inbox at my work from time to time but this is the first time I have zero e-mails in my personal inbox since I started using e-mails in 1995.

Posted by Scott  | April 1, 2016 at 8:50PM | Reply

CTN at the end of the day on email is probably the best feeling and most confidence inducing portion of this. I know that tomorrow I’m ready with things that are important already filed or flagged and that whatever comes overnight will new and necessary to process!

Thank you!!!

Posted by Gordon L  | April 1, 2016 at 8:51PM | Reply

0!!!!!!!!

Posted by Lisa  | April 1, 2016 at 9:01PM | Reply

Inbox Zero achieved! I don’t think my inbox has ever been empty! Should have my work email inbox down to zero this weekend. This was a great series, feeling accountable to post everyday was a great motivator too! Thanks so much AE team!

Posted by JW  | April 1, 2016 at 9:08PM | Reply

Still Inbox Zero at home & work. Thanks AE for posting this challenge, it helped me get back on track.

Posted by Ann Schmitz  | April 1, 2016 at 9:21PM | Reply

Clearing to neutral

Posted by Mike  | April 1, 2016 at 9:28PM | Reply

Inbox zero success

Posted by Lisa  | April 1, 2016 at 10:51PM | Reply

I still feel like I have a long way to go. Processing is time-consuming, but I’m seeing the light.

Posted by Caroline  | April 1, 2016 at 11:37PM | Reply

I’ve cleared out more than 2,000 emails and an almost to zero! Thanks AE!

Posted by Amit Taneja  | April 2, 2016 at 12:06AM | Reply

The last mile is the longest, slowest and the most rewarding.
Thanks AE

Posted by Divaldo  | April 2, 2016 at 1:25AM | Reply

Finally! Me: 1, Inbox: 0!!! And now we begin the real challenge: keeping it that way!!! Thank you AE!!!

Posted by Michele  | April 2, 2016 at 1:28AM | Reply

Well, my inbox is at zero (or almost given I got two more while reading the post). The first few days I was able to keep up with the Reply to folder. Nothing that goes in there is due today – those emails go directly into tasks or the calendar as an event (parts of a project, etc.).

My problem now is the Reply to folder. It is 10:30 at night and I have 22 emails that need dealing with. Some of these could have gone into the Read folder on the first pass, but I was afraid I might miss something that needed to be read soon. (I rarely get into the Read folder to clean it out/read the email there.) But the rest will require some action (other than filing) each of which will take more than two minutes. Haven’t I just deferred more dreaded email time? It sort of takes away from the pleasure of having an (almost) empty inbox.

Posted by Mike Dodson  | April 2, 2016 at 1:32AM | Reply

Done. It was a long day, I have no emails in my inbox. :-)

Posted by Hef920  | April 2, 2016 at 4:13AM | Reply

Have been inbox zero for 2 days!! I look forward to this new world…….

Posted by Neil MacLennan  | April 2, 2016 at 4:18AM | Reply

Done — I have clean work Inbox
I need to do the same with my personal Inbox next, but one thing at a time.
Feels good! http://imgur.com/lnWp6xj

Posted by Dustin Hartzler  | April 2, 2016 at 4:45AM | Reply

After completing the weeks tasks, the inbox is much easier to process.

Now let’s see if I can keep it under control with just 30 minutes per day :)

Posted by Marieke  | April 2, 2016 at 4:57AM | Reply

I’m using cloudmagic and it is saying: Ah, zero inbox. Maybe it’s time for some fresh air. :-)

Posted by Tracy  | April 2, 2016 at 7:07AM | Reply

Yep, not comes the hard part, tidying everything up.

Posted by Bob Desilets  | April 2, 2016 at 7:37AM | Reply

I’m scheduling an hour a day for the coming week to get my remaining emails processed. Un-subscribing has helped, and moving older messages to an archive removed a big mental barrier caused by seeing my message count above 1000. I’m hoping that processing won’t take every scheduled hour, so that I can use the rest of the time to further refine my system, and finally get Outlook server rules under control.

Thank you for hosting this challenge. I found it incredibly useful to have the daily reminders that the next step was ready.

Posted by Nagesh  | April 2, 2016 at 7:47AM | Reply

Inbox Zero achieved finally & taking efforts to see that it stays maintained that way !

Feels great to be on top of and in control of incoming email- in fact once things become manageable one gets addicted to daily battling things out & maintaining Zero Inbox that way.

Suddenly, email management does not seem that challenging any more as your Inbox is not so busy as before !

Archiving old emails & rolling up subscriptions has helped tremendously and also realize that the KEY to effectiveness is CTN- clearing to neutral.

Posted by Rachel  | April 2, 2016 at 4:22PM | Reply

OK, the inbox is at zero – but my act on the archive folder is bulging :) Thanks for this challenge, even though I got sick and could only finish it now, have really enjoyed it. Useful, practical, and interesting reading everyone’s comments.

Posted by MB  | April 3, 2016 at 10:31AM | Reply

Still going….

Posted by Daniel  | April 3, 2016 at 10:52AM | Reply

No fun but done. Thanks a lot for your help.

Posted by Anne Cushman  | April 3, 2016 at 4:18PM | Reply

I did this at the start of the year and it felt great.

Now I try to get there every Friday.

My two challenges: 1, I literally don’t have time during the week to process my Inbox all the way to Zero daily, so I scan for the must-answer-must respond emails, which means inevitably double handling some emails at the end of the week
2) I find myself leaving certain important emails in there because I don’t fully trust my task manager, since it is so bulging and full (Omnifocus) that I fear certain email tasks might get lost.

Posted by Enwongo Ettang  | April 3, 2016 at 4:23PM | Reply

Wow… What a good feeling to finally get back to inbox zero. Thank you asian efficiency for these 4-day challenge.

Posted by mlg  | April 3, 2016 at 6:26PM | Reply

Whew! All emails in @ACTION SUPPORT or @WAITING FOR folders!
(Can’t post the pic of my empty mailbox though)

Posted by Louise  | April 3, 2016 at 10:44PM | Reply

Done ! Thank you for your great ideas !!

Posted by Christopher  | April 4, 2016 at 2:53AM | Reply

done done done :)

Posted by Phil  | April 4, 2016 at 3:21PM | Reply

Yep – inbox down to 5. Unprocessed mail from the past – that takes more time. But at least it’s not screaming for my attention in the inbox.

Posted by Anne W  | April 4, 2016 at 3:48PM | Reply

I’m one business day late but I finished it. I am trusting my system that things won’t get lost after clearing my in box!

Posted by Terri  | April 4, 2016 at 7:54PM | Reply

I was able to get to inbox zero Thursday and took Friday off to play. I came in to 113 emails. Cleared to neutral.

Posted by Peter  | September 9, 2016 at 10:28AM | Reply

All done in a jiffy. Cleared to neutral.

Thank you for the challenge. It is up to me know to keep the ball rolling the next days, weeks, months, years.

I created a “routine” in Omnifocus to go through this “Inbox Zero” twice a day.

All the best.

Posted by Alastair  | September 9, 2016 at 10:32AM | Reply

Inbox zero – done! Thanks Mike and the AE team, the challenge for me now is to keep applying the lessons every day and keep it that way .

Posted by Eric Gurvis  | September 9, 2016 at 10:42AM | Reply

This week was perfectly timed as I had just returned from several weeks of vacation. So these tricks and disciplines were perfect for enabling me (and goading me) to process the backlog efficiently and streamline my email.

And, as of this AM – INBOX ZERO!

Thank you

Posted by Hema Heffernan  | September 9, 2016 at 12:56PM | Reply

Yep living the dream… :-)

Posted by David Knickmeyer  | September 11, 2016 at 1:51PM | Reply

Done!

I’d gotten there before then let it slip (only a little. Maxed out at about 20 or so in my inbox, so compared to my coworkers…),

But now I’m back at zero and plan to keep it that way.

Posted by Barb Dunford  | September 12, 2016 at 9:25PM | Reply

I’m finding the challenge is to keep it at zero when I don’t check it for a few days. I have these niggly little emails that I’m not quite sure what to do with and they sit around for a while :-(

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