Inbox 0?

So, I may have been a bit quiet for the past 16 hours … aside from sleep, I’ve been implementing ‘Inbox 0’ … as you can see there are still 200-odd emails to be dealt with, but I can see where those are, rather than in the previous complicated series of rules/folders – which meant I was starting to miss some (as I am using my phone more heavily – and those disappear straight out of sight). So, using a newsletter from Matt Stocker from a week or so ago, in which he recommends 3 folders:

  • Action Required: Do I need to take action? Put it in the folder, then deal with it as soon as possible. Don’t let this folder get out of control.
  • Archive: Things you might want to keep, but unsorted as the search will allow finding
  • Waiting For: Something to which you can’t make further progress until someone responds.

I have found having a folder into which I post all my RSS feeds/newsletters particularly helpful to deal with in a chunk, so I’ve kept that, and a separate project that I also deal with at specific times. And from having around 6000+ emails that I wasn’t sure what to do with – here we are this morning:


Let’s see how it goes! I use it in conjunction with Do.Com – which is started to shout at me less, as I’m becoming VAGUELY more realistic about how long things take, and the cost-benefit/ROI of how much time to spend on different things … all part of the coaching journey!

And that’s the work email, still got others to work out, but as with my house/wardrobe, etc. gradually getting on top of things..

By admin

Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst  (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.

12 replies on “Inbox 0?”

Hi Bex, great article and really glad you found our newsletter about email management useful. For others who are interested, you can see the original email newsletter here:

I’m really interested to see how you’ve set your folder structure up in a way that works for you – and also to see how you’ve put the ideas into action.

The only thing I’d suggest is I might look at splitting out your ‘action required’ folder a little more, potentially into different contexts. I know you are into social media, and therefore may get a lot of updates and notifications. I might split that out into a separate folder @social to reduce the distraction, as it requires a particular kind of focus. Normally the rest of the actions are mostly @respond @decision or @action. The @actions/decisions should move into your to-do list and the @responds be responded to.

It depends how you work best as to how much you split these out or not. Too many folders and it’s unhelpful; to few and you get swamped by noise and you still can’t see the wood for the trees. Ultimately it’s personal preference – and changing it when it stops working for you.

Look forward to seeing how you get on over the coming months! Matt

Thanks Matt, shall keep tweaking to see what works… definitely think I need to do something a bit more with the ‘Action’ folder … and interesting what I remembered from your email without having it in front of me 🙂 Still feel more in control of it than previously….

Great idea! But – I don’t have folders on my mail program! I use ipad and iPod and am never on a computer. I think this is part oft he problem for me – I just lose track of them if I don’t reply straightaway… Hmm. I need a system.

Hmm, yes – maybe should tweet out re particular mail programme and see if others have ideas… I waver between being on top of Facebook, etc or emails I think!! Need more hands/brains, etc..

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