Inbox Detox Day 5 – Get clearing!

This is it… we are finally ready. Well done for getting stuck in this week, there have been loads of fab moments so thank you for your feedback.

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

Watch me clean up a Gmail account

Watch me clean up an Outlook Account

Watch me clean up a MacMail account

Just to recap we have:

  1. ​Become dedicated unsubscribers for any emails that are showing up but not giving good value.
  2. Learnt to automatically move emails into folders so we can find them when we need them. 
  3. Created a simple but brilliant folder structure that is easy to use.
  4. Created an effective To do list in our inbox so we can easily see what emails need our attention.

And today it’s time for… de de de dah, de de de duh da, The Final Countdown! Time to get those inboxes emptied.


My advice for clearing your inbox is…

Option 1 – Move the whole lot into an Archive folder. Yes, you heard right. Life is short I’m guessing that your answer to the question ‘Do I really need to sort out the entire backlog of my emails given that the search works pretty well’ is NO. Select all and move to the Archive folder (which you have created especially for this purpose, you could call it ‘Old Inbox’). Bingo! You have achieved Inbox Zero. Which in itself is not so amazing but what is amazing is that you should now be able to keep your inbox under control. You have a simple folder system, you are using the automatic steps to move the information emails to a folder out of the way and you might be using a tool to help keep your inbox clear of things that you can’t work on just yet.

Option 2 – Work your way through the whole inbox and sort it out. Follow these steps to make it faster:

  • Search for and select all the emails from clients using their name or email address. Move them to the client folder.
  • Search for and select receipts by looking for Paypal, your accountant, any ongoing hosting fees etc and move these to an Admin or FInance folder.
  • Select all the emails that contain free downloads or useful content that you may wish to refer back to and move these to Resources
  • Sort by sender and move all the emails from ‘people’ like friends, business contacts and other non-clients to the ‘People’ folder.
  • You should be left with emails that require you to take action. If you haven’t actioned them and they are a few months old then ask whether you ever will and consider moving to a folder or deleting if appropriate. If they do need action then flag or star them or add to your Action folder (see Day 3 email) to move them out of your inbox until a time you are able to action them.

Option 3 – Both the above options have some issues. There is a third way which is my favourite. Select and Archive everything that is more than 2 months old (or whatever timescale feels good to you). Move it all to an ‘Old Inbox’ folder. Then use the sorting method in Option 2 to sort through all the things you have received within the last 2 months. This has the benefit of getting you into the sorting habit so that going forward your inbox will stay cleared.

And that’s it! Thanks for joining me on this journey, I really hope that you have found it useful and even if you haven’t managed to get all the steps in place yet don’t beat yourself up. Keep unsubscribing from things that don’t bring value, move things to folders whenever you can and use those amazing apps to keep your inbox clear of things you can’t action and I’m sure you will soon be a master of Inbox Zero.

Cheat Sheet No 1

I’ve created you a worksheet to print out to remind you of the steps we have taken and help you stay on track. You can get it here.

Summary Decision Making Cheat sheet

I have summarised what we have covered in a worksheet which you may find handy. You can download it here.


Still got questions?

Feel free to post in the Facebook group if there is anything you would like help with.

Finally thank you for joining me on this challenge. I know what it is like to run a busy business and I hope that you have picked up some tips to make your days a little smoother.


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