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I'm doing the exact opposite as Michael; but I can't say which of us has the better system. I probably get a lot fewer emails.

I've given up on inbox zero -- I now use inbox infinity. Everything stays my inbox unless auto-categorized (mailing lists, specific clients, etc). When I look through my emails, I flag any email I'm not dealing with right now. Otherwise I reply, leave it, or delete it. I archive anything old than 6 months every 6 months.

I suppose, in effect, my list of flagged emails is my inbox-zero but I feel more connected to whole stream of email with the box full. I occasionally need scroll to previous days and glance around.

I also have a Pebble so I'm effectively checking email instantly all the time. I find with the pebble that I dismiss things much more frequently now (emails, texts, and calls). Perhaps because the act of looking at the Pebble is so passive compared to checking my phone or computer.




Same here. The idea of Inbox Zero is like a physical mailbox that requires you to empty it. The idea of Inbox infinity is like a Twitter/Facebook stream, where things go by and you pick out the ones to take action on.


An email in your inbox is two things: an imperative to act (reply, call, do something based on the email), and a piece of searchable supporting information for that action - or anything else, really.

So what you describe is pretty close already to inbox zero. The last step is to get even more aggressive about archiving things non-to-dos and trusting that archive search box. A truly empty inbox is more important than it may seem - new items are seen by themselves, standalone, instead of as part of existing glut of shit to take care of. And it's good to have the discipline to either commit to an imperative task or just say "no" - either explicitly or via non-response.


My inbox is not an imperative to act -- only the unread bold items are such an imperative. Those are to be replied, forwarded, flagged, deleted, or ignored. If it's read then I've done one of those actions. No need to archive off the inbox to get that discipline. All the tools are there.

I found that it's a disadvantage to not have the stream of activity that Inbox infinity provides. All incoming email is sorted by date so I can always see my activity.


In many roles, that would be irresponsible, as you would drop your colleagues emails and leave them hanging. I agree it would be freeing, but I don't think its fair to the rest of the team.


I don't understand what you mean? Why would any emails get dropped? All unread emails when read are replied-to, forwarded, flagged, deleted, or ignored.


Ah, I see. I misunderstood - in your system you handle all emails, you just dont remove them from the inbox.




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