How to Actually Get to Inbox Zero

Hundreds or (shudder) thousands of unread emails getting you down? You’re not alone— entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to inbox overload. Here’s one way to clear your to-read list.

(Illustrations: Graham Roumieu)

Email notifications rain down

Step 1: Set aside a day to deal with your backlog. Yes, a day. Put on a pot of coffee and dive in.

Read your emails

Step 2: Read each email. Tag those requiring action, archive those you need and pitch the rest.

Don't reply immediately

Step 3: Resist the urge to reply as you go. That’s the ad hoc approach that got you into this mess.

Write a lateness apology

Step 4: When your unreads get to zero, polish a “forgive the lateness” caveat and start responding.

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