Inbox Zero: The Ultimate Productivity Hack For Entrepreneurs

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Declutter your mind by decluttering… your inbox?

Today I am sharing with you one of my FAVORITE productivity methods… Inbox Zero.

What is it? And do you really need to have ZERO emails in your inbox to be more productive? 

And how the heck do you even get started organizing an inbox with hundreds or even thousands of unread emails?

We’re going to talk about all of that and more in this blog…

Hey Posse, what’s up? It’s Alex. 

I am so excited for this tutorial because inbox management is something I REALLY geek out about. 

Sounds nerdy, I know…

But trust me, once you achieve the satisfaction of a perfectly organized inbox…

Where YOU are in complete control.

You’ll never go back.

I’ll never forget this quote that my friend Brendon Burchard tweeted literally over 10 years ago… it has stuck with me…

Beware of your inbox, it’s nothing but a convenient organizing system for other people’s agendas.

Brendon Burchard

Oofffff ain’t that the truth.

Now be honest – how many unread emails do you have in your inbox right now? Comment below and let me know…

I won’t lie—that red email notification icon makes me break out in hives, so I had to turn it off and once and for all stop letting my inbox – and OTHER PEOPLE’s agendas – control me.

I promise, once you do the steps in this blog, you’ll never feel so free thanks to your new Inbox Boundaries!

In this blog, I’m actually going to take through MY inbox so you can see what I do to manage the TONS of emails I get every single day.

And I’ll explain how to get started with inbox zero – I promise it’s not as complicated or overwhelming as it sounds!

Plus, I’ll show you all my favorite inbox management tips and tricks – the filters I use, labels, folders, and more. 

But before we get into that…

If you’re new to the crew – welcome! 

My blog is here to help all my fellow entrepreneurs, business owners, copywriters, and freelancers build a business that works FOR you.

Whether that’s through my copywriting tips, sharing the launch plan that made me millions, or my hot takes on the future of marketing with AI

So be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be first to know when my next tutorial goes out. 

Alright, before I show you how I have my inbox set up, let’s first do a quick background on WHAT Inbox Zero is…

What Is The Inbox Zero Method?

Originally created by Merlin Mann, the idea behind Inbox Zero is to help employees develop a more casual relationship with email.

(And FYI Merlin has several podcasts dedicated to helping you find the time and attention to do your best creative work!)

Inbox Zero is designed to help employees develop a more casual relationship with email…

The goal is NOT to achieve a constantly empty inbox, or to read & respond to every single email immediately…


The goal is to keep your inbox organized by giving each email an IMMEDIATE ACTION. 

Mann’s steps follow 5 main actions: delete, delegate, respond, defer, and do. 

Here’s how it works…

The Five Rules of Inbox Zero

The goal of Inbox Zero is that you log into your inbox each day and every email is acted upon…

If you follow this method to a T, you will either…

#1 – Delete

Ask yourself… does this email require a response?  

Is it junk? Spam? Or a newsletter you don’t care to read?

The first step in Inbox Zero is to delete any unnecessary emails.

I mean, right there you’ve probably dealt with over half of the emails in your inbox IMMEDIATELY.

#2 – Delegate

Are you the right person to respond to this email?

If you’re a solopreneur the answer is probably yes… 

But this one is particularly useful for business owners who have a VA or a team. 

Delegating is a powerful tool to ensure you’re not taking on any more unnecessary work…

Or doing anything someone else could do faster, do better. 

#3 – Respond

If you get an email that only needs a quick response, do it now – not later.

This one thing will prevent SO MANY things from slipping through the cracks.

I mean, we’ve all done it – right?

You read an email, think to yourself, “I’ll get back to them after lunch…

And the next thing you know it’s been 6 days and they’re sending you a follow-up email. 

All because their email got lost in your inbox. 

This rule mainly applies to those more transactional – yes, no, this, that – type of emails. 

Ones that won’t require you to sit down and think too much about the response. 

A good rule of thumb is to respond to emails that require 5 minutes or less of your time. 

#4 – Defer

If the email requires a more in-depth response, or it isn’t an immediate priority – move it to a specified location in your inbox and come back to it later. 

The key here is that you DO NOT just leave it sitting in your general inbox. 

Remember, Inbox Zero is all about streamlining and organizing your inbox. 

Everything has a place. 

I have different folders, labels, and sections set up in my inbox to keep everything organized. 

The section of my inbox named “Pending” helps me keep track of emails that aren’t URGENT, do not require immediate action, or ones where I need more time to craft my response.

I try to get back to these emails within 3-5 business days. 

I’ll take you through my inbox and show you exactly how I have everything set up in just a moment. 

There is one more category we need to talk about first… 

#5 – Do

The last step of Inbox Zero is to work on the things that matter most and need your immediate attention… often times these emails require a task or some sort of action. 

Again, if you don’t have the time to sit down RIGHT NOW and get back to this person…

Move the email into a specific location in your inbox that is for priority emails.

You can see here that I have one label “*Needs Response” – these emails are a priority and I try to get back to them within 1-2 business day. 

You could even get super fancy with this and integrate your inbox with management tools like Asana – this way you can set yourself a due date for each email.

I don’t personally do that right now. 

But depending on the size of your business, how many emails you receive every day, and whether or not you have a Virtual Assistant helping you with inbox management – this might be something you want to look into. 

So that’s WHAT Inbox Zero is…

Now if you want to see how to set up an Inbox Zero system, utilizing some of my favorite inbox tools…

Just scroll to the end of this blog to watch the video tutorial!

I use Gmail, so that’s what I’m going to show you, but keep in mind that these concepts would work similarly in an email provider you use. 

I’ve been using this system for a few years now and I’m not kidding, it saves me TONS of time. 

I hope this was helpful for you. 

If you have any questions about Inbox Zero, drop them below and I’ll do my best to answer.

And hey… if you’re not already on my email list – get on it! You can join right here to sign up for weekly copywriting, marketing, branding, and storytelling emails from yours truly. 

I’ll see you next week with a brand-new tutorial.

Until then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now.

P.S. If you missed last week’s blog, go check it out to learn 5 Mistakes New Copywriters Make That Keep Them Stuck & Broke!

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