One last thing I want to address is something I get asked about a lot, which is how to file your email messages that you don’t want to delete. It’s actually an easy answer. The way that I suggest you file information, including email, is categorically. Break things down into the major areas of your life. For me, two calories are business-related emails and personal emails.
But, I think we also have to realize that the search features in email clients are very good. Filing information may not always be the right answer. You should rely on search tools rather than spending lots of time creating folders and sub-folders. The more folders you have, the harder it can be to find things! If you have just a few folders, and a search feature, you should be able to find what you need in a matter of seconds.
One final note, after you respond to a message, delete the one that’s in your inbox and file the one from your “sent” folder.
Here’s one final tip on how to get started implementing everything I’ve outlined over the last several days. If you want to start with a with zero inbox today, right now, first you need to shut off that automatic download in your email client, if you haven’t already. Then, create a subfolder called “old emails to process,” and move everything before yesterday into it. Once you’ve done that, process all of your emails from today and yesterday, until you have zero messages in your inbox. Then as time permits, you can go back and process the older messages, or wait until something comes up (someone says, “did you get the email I sent you last week?”). It’s not as drastic as deleting everything and starting over, but achieves the same result. When you’ve gotten to zero, RESIST the urge to click that send/receive button again! Go do something else! Work off your to-do list for a while, go out and experience “Twitter 3D,” aka the real world! =)