electronic brain surgery since 2001

Inbox Zero

I just spent an hour or so cleaning my email inbox after watching a video on the "Inbox Zero" approach. “Inbox Zero” is a philosophy of how to effectively processing all the mails you get each day.

The idea is very simple. Instead of just “checking” mails, you process them. This does not mean to respond to each and every mail, instead you apply one of the following actions:

  1. delete or archive
  2. delegate
  3. respond
  4. defer
  5. do

The approach isn't new to me. It is basically what Getting Things Done teaches as well. I tried to use it for a few times already. But somehow the system always starts to dilute and turns into an inbox mess again after some time.

I think one cause is that I often keep mails I know I will need to refer to in the next days in my inbox. Because search over IMAP sucks, I need to keep those mails at sight.

Today I was thinking if I should move all my mail to Google Mail instead. Having Google's search for my mails would solve that problem. Having a web interface to my mails would add some more benefit.

But I'm a bit reluctant to store my emails at Google only, so I'm thinking about setting up some synchronized IMAP mailbox at my server using imapsync. I have no idea if this works as I imagine, though.

I'd love to hear your opinion on all that stuff.

  1. What approaches have you tried to manage your emails?
  2. How successful were they?
  3. Do you use Google Mail?
  4. Are you using your own me@mydomain.com address or me@gmail.com?
  5. If you use your own address, how did you set that up?
  6. Do you have any backup strategy?

Thanks for your input.

mail, gmail, inboxzero, gtd
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