Inbox 0 – Part 2

At Conversatio Morum, we’re posting a series on making email productive and getting to inbox 0. You can read more about those concepts here. You can see every post in the series here. So today we’re going to be starting on getting to Inbox 0. In my previous post I mentioned that my current email system is “way too complicated” and that it’s “seriously ridiculous”. I wasn’t lying. I don’t know what I was thinking in the original setup, but I’m sure it made sense at the time. To prove the ridiculousness, here’s a breakdown:

I have 14 email addresses, and 6 inboxes. They’re all for different purposes, and all the addresses are actually necessary. 6 emails go to 1 account’s inbox, 1 email to another account’s inbox, the 3rd email and inbox  is standalone, 1 email goes to another account’s inbox,  the 5th account is standalone, and the 6th account is standalone. Within each inbox there is also filtering to send email’s to specific folders.

Like I said, complicated. My goal is to get down to 3 inboxes that can be checked from a single place so that I’m in the end dealing with one email inbox. I think that’s as far as I’ll be able to go, but it will make things far simpler than they are at the moment. I plan to use mailbox and outlook as much as possible to assist in quickly cleaning up my email. I’m also going to play with a few other apps\email filtering helps such as SaneBox. (disclosure: I use SaneBox and Mailbox consistently. I also think they’re amazing. No, they don’t pay me. My company pays for my SaneBox account because it’s amazing. Even with not getting paid by them and SaneBox costing my company money, I still write about both apps. Because they’re great tools.)

OK. Now that you know my goals here and how I plan to do this thing, let’s get started. First, let’s take a look at the mailboxes with ALOT of email. I’ve obfuscated anything related to client information…obviously. The important thing here is the numbers.

First there’s Outlook

OutlookPreCleanupOver 4800 items. Gross….Mop it up.

Second, there’s my accounts

OutlookOnlinePreCleanupAlmost 2900 items? EEEWWWWW. Yuck.

OK, so that’s where we’re starting from. Time to start the cleanup.

  1. Outlook:
    1. I already had a bit of a sorting system. All my items that were definitely taken care of had a check flag. So I sorted by checked vs. unchecked.
    2. I highlighted all of the checked flag emails.
    3. Next is time to delete all those old emails. (I know, I know, this is the hard part. Trust me, life will be so much brighter once you’ve cleared all the digital stuff. Don’t worry, digital hoarding is a common problem. Don’t feel alone. Press Delete.) It will ask you if you’re sure. Be brave. Keep Calm. Press Yes.
    4. Next I began to sort through and work through all the “unresponded” items. (In reality, most were responded.)
    5. Almost there
    6. Whew, after hours of work, my inbox is cleared
    7. After this I cleared my deleted items
      numberofemailsdeletedWOW! That’s A Lot!
    8. Next I needed to clean out other folders
    9. I cleared all of those and cleared my Junk Folder
    10. Finally once all of that was finished I cleared my Deleted items once more
      22054ItemsBeBraveI had that many?!?! Seriously?!?! What’s wrong with me?!?
    1. First thing was that there were a ton of sorting rules that I had to get rid of
    2. Now that all those were deleted I had to clear my inbox first
    3. Next I had to clear my sub folders
    4. Finally, after hours of work I was at 0 on all my accounts.

Whew. That was a lot of email, and it took some time. YAY!!! It’s all gone! In the end, I think this minimalist approach to email will save me some time and the time invested to get there will give a TON of value. [Tweet That] I’ve already seen it pay dividends on my time within this first two weeks. How about you? How’s it going? Getting close to Inbox 0? Are you there already? How does it feel to taste freedom?