Making a Case for the Zero Inbox

In the recent argument between the time management gurus mentioned in my prior post, I came across an interesting articles that emphasized the need for a breakthrough in inbox management.

First  off, let me start by saying that it’s not a goal that everyone should seek, and this kind of commitment can only be entered into wholeheartedly by the individual user.

In the article “Escaping Email Overload,”  Lena West gives a great example of Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch, who has 2400 unread emails in his email inbox and 721 unread emails in his Facebook inbox.


I just hope that your urgent email to him isn’t sitting around unread.  (Unfortunately, after only a few days of silence, un-replied email sometimes leads to thoughts and feelings in the mind of the sender so I hope that you aren’t feeling too bad if this is the case…. LOL)

West mentions the different approaches that people have taken to try to tame the email monster, ranging from various methods of sorting and filtering.  Some advocate ignoring the urgency of email as a matter of course, refusing, as Tim Ferris does, to answer email until he clears his inbox once every two weeks.

Hurst comes closest to the argument I make here in 2Time:  “Digital overload isn’t a function of too much e-mail; it’s a product of not managing your action items appropriately,” he says. 

When he responds to her email within twenty minutes she takes that as evidence that he must be doing something right.  I’m not so sure about that…

However, I agree with West completely when she says at the end:

“E-mail overload isn’t going to be spontaneously solved by installing software or adopting one guru’s approach. The right solution for you may not be the best solution for someone else. Because of that, addressing the issue takes trial and error.

When one system doesn’t work, try another until you find an approach that works for you–whether the solution is process, software or a combination of the two. E-mail is here to stay, and we all have to figure out what works for us individually.”

Well said. More help is needed on that front.