I just FAIL at the Inbox Zero concept and related methods for taming the email beast. I know this so well that I’ve never really *tried* hard to get there. A few half-hearted, high-energy assaults on my inbox, adoption of some of the main principles, yes, but never achieved. And the progress I *do* make I never manage to preserve.
The truth is, a LOT of my email just serves as little flags of information that I can take in at a glance with no need to act on. The time it takes to find and delete all of these little flags, if I bothered, would be wasted. It’s enough to have them register in my brain via gmail or blackberry and then flow away in the stream that is my inbox.
What I *really* need isn’t inbox zero, it’s inbox infinity.
I want my optimized inbox to automatically delete all messages on a rolling time frame, x weeks or days after receipt. With that as the default, I would set up rules for certain messages to auto-archive instead of delete. The bulk of messages received fall into the first or second treatment.
Everything else can then be batch processed using an “Inbox Zero” like system, where I respond, convert the message to a task, add an event to my calendar or tag and archive information I will need for later reference.
This in place, I’d only have to give mind and click-share to the messages I need to act on. The rest would just play their parts as messengers and beacons and then drift away on the river without my intervention. It’s a subtle difference, and might not sound like a big time-saver to many of you, but deleting and archiving by hand is actually a substantial (and worthless) part of my inbox maintenance.
What do you think? Are there hackarounds in Gmail that would let me do this?