Your Contact Management Blog

7 Simple Ways to Get to Inbox Zero Every Day


Email gets a bad name, but to be honest, email is a great tool… when you rock it out!

zero inbox


Being a community manager means I get a ton of email and have to handle them all fairly quickly (to keep our wonderful customers at happy!).  I actually love email and it’s because I rock it out and it does feel like a very effective tool for me.  Here are my top tips JUST for you, and I’d love to hear how you rock out email below in the comments.  

Cheers! -Brad


1) It’s easier to deal with 100 emails than 200.  DECIDE what comes into your inbox and how.  You can use filters for all of your internet deals, blog subsciptions and newsletters… or I personally prefer to not go that extra mile and use one of these two services that are STELLAR (that do the same thing automatically) / sanebox .  They also make it easy to unsubscribe which you really should do with anything you don’t click on once a week.


2) Forget the saying “check my email”.  PROCESS it.  For every email in your inbox, there should be only 3 options

  • reply immediately (and quickly)
  • delegate to a colleague
  • star it for later (if the reply will take too long or if it’s not important now)


3) DO NOT sit in your inbox.  This is the most fatal sin of all ;-)  Get in and get out.  My personal rule is to not process email more than once every hour.  If you need to be on Gchat and send out emails, then try Boomerang’s handy “pause” function and simply unpause every hour or 2 hours to process your inbox again.  


4) Use Gmail short cuts.  They’re literally the best thing since sliced bread… and will seriously reduce your time in the inbox.  Great introductory post here with some of the most useful shortcuts to make into a habit.  AND, habits aren’t easy to develop if you don’t repeat them regularly, so send the post just mentioned to yourself everyday with this nifty trick—->

Email (a very cool reminder service) and review the gmail shorcut tips until you got ’em down.  You’ll be LIGHTNING QUICK!!!

5) If at all, possible, reply to everything in under two minutes and keep your replies direct, succint (and hopefully less than 5 sentences—saves you and your contact time).  If not possible, star that email to deal with it later, and process the rest of your inbox first.  Great post here explaining the 2 minute rule and general zero inbox logic.


6) Deal with NOW not later.  If it’s something you’ll need to handle at a specific time, or if you need to follow-up with someone later, DON’T star it… BOOMERANG it.  Just like the pause button mentioned above this is another great tool from Baydin that allows you to choose when something comes back into your inbox (so you can deal with it at the right time (or follow-up with someone at the right time).


Boomerang is a must-have in my book and it has another function called Send Later where you can always choose when you send emails to your contacts.  Why?  Well, as our clients at are based in Australia, California, France, India, Argentina and really a bit all over, it’s important to time when you send them an email— and an extra tip— the best time to email someone is… if they’re a colleague, 7am so it’s near the top of their inbox, and if it’s email marketing based, here’s the tip.


7) Don’t be afraid to delete and archive everything that’s done.  Delete, delete, delete anything that won’t matter to you in the future.  For the rest, set up the “send and archive” button.  Nothing should be in your inbox that isn’t an immediately actionable.  Also, don’t be afraid to mute any conversation that is not longer pertinent to you (shortcut is “m”).  


Did I miss anything? ;-)  Would love to hear from you below.  

Cheers! -Brad



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  • Simon Binder

    Brad, great post. Question though….. Why use Reminderbaba and Boomerang (too expensive) when the brilliant Sanebox has the same functionality already built in?

    • Brad Patterson @ Kwaga

      Hey Simon,

      Thank you for the kind words; glad you enjoyed the post.

      I’m a big fan of sanebox and their team. They’re remind me later capability is great, but I opted for Boomerang for the “send later” function. You know what they say though… to each his own!


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  • Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide

    I followed from your comment on my blog. Great post! Totally agree. Much of the maintenance has to do with overcoming bad habits once you have your filters set up.

    • Brad Patterson @ Kwaga

      Thanks Jenny.

      Yes. That’s it… and we all know habits aren’t always easy to break/create. Cheers!

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  • Alex Panagides


    Good stuff! mxHero has some additional help to offer. We launched our Free Toolbox Gmail Chrome Extension today ( ). We’re adding “Remind me Later” this month.

    Also, like your ideas. Keep them coming! :)

    All the best!

    • Brad Patterson @ Kwaga

      Nice, Alex. I love it when new tools come out and will definitely give mxHero a spin! Cheers, Brad

  • Preguntón Cojonero Cabrón

    What’s do you thing about Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook book?

    Not FREE tools like boomerang :'(

    • Gabriela Giacoman

      Yes unfortunately not free but we’ve found them well worth the cost! If you can make it work with Outlook that is great :-)