It's been over three years since the last time I completely drained my main inbox, and reached #inboxzero.
I've been hitting my inbox hard for the past year now, constantly fighting to get it down to < 50 emails... but every time I hit a holiday weekend, worked on a larger home project, or did something like publish a new project, the inbox would start flooding a bit more. I finally made it my goal this year to purge the emails and hit zero messages by the end of the July 4th weekend—and it worked!
Here are a few things I've been doing this year to try to keep the volume down even further (ironically, the closer I've gotten to zero, the more daily emails I get—now up to about 120/day non-spam):
- I no longer respond to recruiter emails—immediate deletion, unless the email is from @vatican.va (note: this hasn't happened ;)
- I've disabled almost all GitHub notifications (I was getting hundreds of emails per day from various projects I work with on GitHub before doing this).
- I've disabled all other notifications (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et all). I feel like this image is quit apropos. There's just too much noise. I also disable almost all push notifications on my phone, notifications in macOS, notifications on my iPad, etc. I always have something new, so no need for my devices to shove it in my face!
- Any emails from GitHub, drupal.org, and other OSS-related projects get dumped into a separate folder, and I simply acknowledge and delete those messages once or twice per day. Sometimes I'll respond, other times I batch issue responses per-project per-quarter.
- If an email takes more than ~2 minutes to deal with, it goes into one of 10 or so different Trello boards—one for personal, one for household, one for open source, one for each of my larger projects. These issues are prioritized quarterly, and I have no problem leaving issues to rot. If they're not important enough for me to deal with in a week's time, then 99.9% of the time I don't need to worry about them, period!
- I batch email processing into a morning and evening period, and generally only focus on flagged items in the evening (since I typically use this time for relaxation or open source contribution).
We'll see if I can keep #inboxzero for more than a few days this year :)