The idea is to keep zero messages in your inbox as often as possible.
My approach is somewhat different. In fact the exact opposite. I haven’t moved a message out of my inbox (other than spam) for about 15 years.
I had the same approach pre-Gmail. I was so happy when Gmail arrived that I could import my entire inbox from Outlook into it.
I now have over 30,000 messages in my inbox and I love it.
The pile of messages is so impossibly large it has the exact same effect as inbox zero. It’s impossible to see the wood for the trees. It’s just one very large Forrest.
I think of it like a big white screen with 30,000 white pixles on it. Pure zen.
Over the years I’ve carefully developed 100′s of Gmail filters that auto label incoming email with big bright primary color labels. I don’t even need to read subjects to get a general sense of what’s going on.
Instead of an inbox I use ‘bold’. I know if anything is ‘bold’ I haven’t dealt with yet. When I see something bold I click into it and deal with it (or apply the .todo label).
Many of my Gmail filters auto mark messages as unread when they come in (ie un-bold them). Things like recurring saas billing emails, ebay notifications etc. Because they are un-bold I ignore them. They take no time out of my day. But it’s nice to have a record, just in case.
In many ways I now have the same relationship with my inbox as I do with svn or git commit logs.
The upsides I get from this approach are:
- Same low stress level as inbox zero because I’ve “let go”
- Complete peace of mind that my information is safe and backed up
- Instantly search 15 years worth of MY information, correspondance, recipts & contacts
- Minimal email management due to 100′s of inbox filters with auto tagging. No need to archive etc.
- Ability to scan recent few days to a week to get a sense of what’s been going on (like looking at svn log)
- Easy to track todo list
I’m happy to say my inbox will always grow and grow. I have no intention of declaring inbox bankruptcy.
Of course I’m sure I’m not the only one. I bet plenty of other people do it!
Do you have an Infinity Inbox? If so how many messages? How old?
Let us know in the comments below!