Inbox Detox Day 3 – Stop using your inbox as a to do list

We’ve taken more control over what comes into your inbox by starting to unsubscribe from everything that is not useful AND we have set up some automatic rules to move things you don’t need in your inbox out to folders where you can deal with them later.

Now we need to think about what we do with the stuff we need to take action on. 

You can watch the videos below or scroll down further for the written information if you prefer.

The written version for those of you who like reading…


Firstly, just to recap, we have got into the unsubscribe habit. We are starting to get control of what is coming in.

Secondly, we have some basic folders which have rules associated with them so we don’t need to move things ourselves if we know where they need to go. These are the ‘for info’ or ‘to read later’ emails that we don’t need to take action on.

Today I would like you think about creating 2 new folders; an ACTION and a WAITING folder. Now you may prefer to keep your inbox as your ACTION folder so that you know that everything in there needs something done with it but it also means that you can’t finish clearing your inbox if you have things still to do. It’s really down to personal preference, I love a clear inbox so I use a combination of ACTION and a todo tool that I will come on to.

[ACTION] Create your 2 new folders. When you are in your inbox and working through your emails firstly consider if an email could be dealt with in 2 minutes or less. If the answer is YES then just get on with it. If it will take longer you can move it to your ACTION folder. Plan a time each day to take action on those emails. If they are still there a week later I wonder if you really need to do them?

If you have replied to an email and will need to follow up then you can move it to WAITING. As with ACTION you need to develop the habit of checking through the folder regularly and following up as appropriate. But while you are waiting the emails are not sat in your inbox creating a mess.

Bonus Task

Take a look at TODOist or Clickup. These are a to do list app and a project management tool that I LOVE. Both have a great free version that I can use across my phone and computers and it have genuis addons for GMail and Outlook.  Watch the video below to see what I mean. You can create a todo list item from an email at the click of a button. 


SPEEDY SUMMARY: Create an ACTION and WAITING folder ready to move emails that fit these categories out for you to action or follow up at appropriate points.

Only 2 days left before Inbox Clearance! See you tomorrow!