Is Inbox Zero Ever Really Worth It?

Evolving Architect / 'Is Inbox Zero Every Really Worth It?'

If you were to look at your inbox right now, how many emails would you find?

10, 100, 1000 unopened emails? Yikes.

Do you feel unfulfilled until every last one of those is opened? Sometimes I do. It's almost like a game to see if we can get through every last message without going crazy; as if everything will be good and in balance if we can answer all of our email.

But if there's anything I've learned about my inbox, it's that not all email is created equal.

We can't give the same importance to every email that we receive, but now and again the shear volume of emails that fill our inbox can challenge that very notion. We've trained ourselves to think that each email we've 'read' is therefore a completed task. If all of the emails have been answered, we've accomplished something wonderful.

Is it true though? It's not like you win a prize. At least I don't think you do. My Outlook sure as hell doesn't seem to want me to succeed, even on a good day.

Look, email is here and it's not going away. We have to understand what email really is and then just use that knowledge to our advantage every time we're tempted to blindly look for what's inside.


It's not a race. Just take it easy and one at a time. There's no trophy for first to empty their inbox, so you'll be just fine either way.


If you don't need to respond, delete it.


Let your email work for you. Create rules in your settings that automate where emails with certain subjects or from specific senders go. Not everything needs to start in your inbox.

Use your email, not as a quick fix to make you feel better about what you've accomplished, but as a powerful way to stay current in the way that works best for you.

Thanks for being awesome!



Set up your email for success. Create folders and rules that auto sort and categorize your emails by project or sender. You'll start to see positive changes in the way you interact with your email and how much less of a pull it has on you in no time at all.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, please pass it on to someone you know. It would mean a lot to me.

This post has been adapted from the original entry from the member-exclusive Evolution Weekly on July 10, 2016. Sign up today and get entries like this sent directly to your inbox!

Michael LaValley

Buffalo, NY