Here’s the system I use to go through my email every day. I like it because it keeps me organized, and it helps me respond to tasks that are a) urgent, b) important, and c) easy tasks. This helps reduce stress.

  1. If you have a large amount of emails already in your inbox, you may want to start by clearing them all out before you start this system.
  2. Use something to keep track of all of your tasks. This could be a notebook or an online tool. I use Todoist.
  3. Use something to keep track of your calendar. I use Google Calendar. I used to use Slingshot (here’s the 2014 calendar).
  4. Unsubscribe from most or all mass emails. For the organizations you want to keep track of, use an RSS reader. I use Feedly.
  5. For the mass emails you are still subscribed to, filter them so they never enter your inbox. Setup a script so they are marked ‘read’ if they are older than a week.
  6. Clear out your inbox every day. Do your very best to clear it out entirely.
  7. Here’s how you clear it out:
    • If it takes less than two minutes, deal with it. Respond to it, put that nooch(1) on your grocery list, or put the event on your calendar
    • if it takes more than two minutes, put it on your to-do list
  8. Use these same principles for your voice mail, text messages, Facebook messages, etc.

I came up with these principles after reading Bit Literacy and watching Google Inbox Zero. Then I experimented and found a system that works best for me.

(1)Nooch is nutritional yeast flakes