Let's face it. Emails are daunting. You arrive at work, you open your inbox and before you've even had time to brew your morning cup of productive coffee, your day has already been completely derailed. A stack of new messages have appeared overnight, each with their own glowing colored unread icon begging for your attention.

Well guess what, they're still waiting for you except now they're buried at the bottom of the pile.

And they're not the only ones.

Remember all of those other messages you never got around to actioning yesterday but swore you would before you headed off for the evening? Well guess what, they're still waiting for you except now they're buried at the bottom of the pile. Some still have their pristine unread badges but others do not and you can't remember if you managed to get around to them in the end or if you accidentally moved your cursor over their name by mistake, rendering them lost into the ether of 'email unknown'.

It's a mess.

Information is overflowing both literally and mentally, causing chaos and stress to your workday.

5 benefits of inbox zero
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Enter Inbox Zero

A simple and game changing approach to email management that will increase your organization, boost your productivity and reduce your overall stress.

I've been where you are. I've sat there dazed and confused as two large monitors beeped and refreshed in front of my eyes, yearning for my immediate attention as email after email flooded my inbox and my mind to the point where all cognitive sense ground to a halt and I prayed for the 5pm bell to toll.

Achieve a clean and organized inbox

The inbox zero philosophy was designed to help you do two important things:

  • Provide structure.
  • Maintain a clean and organized inbox.

While the term 'zero' suggests that your inbox should always be empty, it's more about keeping your inbox free of clutter, unprocessed and unwanted emails so that you can focus on what actually matters in a timely and orderly fashion.

5 Main Benefits of Achieving Inbox Zero

#1 Reduced Clutter

An empty or minimized email inbox reduces visual clutter, allowing you to focus on emails and tasks that matter. Having fewer emails in your inbox helps you get out in front. Less is definitely more in this situation. If there are less emails to read and action, the likelihood of you doing so will be greater.

Whereas on the contrary, if all you are doing is letting new emails pile up on top of existing ones, your inbox will be bursting at the seams, chaos will ensue and nothing will be actioned accordingly, save for a few stragglers that grab your attention every now and then as you doom scroll through your neverending list.

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Fewer emails in your inbox helps you get out in front.

Which brings me to the next benefit;

#2 Reduced Risk of Missing Important Emails

When your inbox is overflowing it's easy to overlook or forget about important emails. There's too much going on and all emails regardless of their importance are fighting for your attention in a sea of noise and discombobulation.

That important email you just received that needs to be signed off and actioned by 2pm? Well, unfortunately you didn't see it come in and now it's disappeared in amongst the notifications and subscriptions.

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Clear the noise, find your focus and action the important emails before their deadlines are even due.

#3 Improved Communication

Responding to emails promptly and keeping an organized inbox can enhance your reputation both internally as well as externally to your clients and customers. There's a perception out there that when an email is received, it's looked upon in the same vein as a letter in so far as the sender is not expecting an immediate response.

I disagree.

By promptly responding to incoming emails you show that you are engaged in the conversation or topic, you care and that you can be depended upon both in the current conversation as well as potential future correspondence.

And that's not even factoring different timezones into the equation where prompt responses massively reduce resolution time where the alternative could result in days wasted as both parties involved are completely out of sync with each other.

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Promptly respond to incoming emails.

#4 Increased Productivity

A clean inbox allows you to focus on important matters and tasks as opposed to rummaging and rooting through a cluttered list of emails. It's simple. You will get more done if the noise has been reduced.

Additionally, a simple task such as deleting irrelevant emails provides you with a little dopamine hit each time you watch one of those guys disappear and has the potential to gain momentum and overspill into positive productivity.

You're getting things done. You're cutting away the weeds and have finally caught a glimpse of that glorious view you had heard so much about.

Fire up that digital strimmer and fell some of that unwanted and overgrown correspondence. There's a grassy patch laying underneath.

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A clean inbox means you will get more done.

#5 Better Work-Life Balance

This is an important one. By managing your emails efficiently you will reduce the amount of time you spend on work-related tasks outside of office hours. I'm not just talking about the physical act of working, I'm talking about the mental act.

If you shut down your computer at the end of the day, knowing full well that you left a lot of emails unanswered or unactioned, you can be guaranteed that an ominous cloud will follow you home and potentially keep you up at night as you try to perform mental arithmetic of what was done and what needs to be done.

Keeping your inbox managed and organized will result in relaxed evenings, a healthier work-life balance and will ensure that you are teed up perfectly for the following day.

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Managing and organizing your inbox will lead to a healthier work-life balance.

Summary of Inbox Zero Benefits

#1 Reduced Clutter

An empty or minimized email inbox reduces visual clutter, allowing you to focus on emails and tasks that matter.

#2 Reduced Risk of Missing Important Emails

Clear the noise, find your focus and action the important emails before their deadlines are even due.

#3 Improved Communication

Responding to emails promptly and keeping an organized inbox can enhance your reputation both internally as well as externally to your clients and customers.

#4 Increased Productivity

A clean inbox allows you to focus on important matters and tasks.

#5 Better Work-Life Balance

By managing your emails efficiently you will reduce the amount of time you spend on work-related tasks outside of office hours.

Further reading:
You now know the benefits of inbox zero but how do you get there? Check out the blog post below where I breakdown the 3 simple steps needed to get to inbox zero.