1. Al

    I, too, try to keep my email to one page in Gmail. Also, I re-mark things as unread that are important or warrant a response. Unread emails will nag at pick at my OCD until they’re all marked as read or deleted. Lastly, I set aside an hour, or two depending on how bad it is, every Friday morning to deal with EACH inbox. Personal, blog, work, etc. I put on music, and hammer it out. I always feel better and can go into my weekend feeling stress and guilt-free…and with a clear idea of what needs to get done!

  2. Grace - Stripes and Sequins

    I do exactly the same thing as Lara – I respond and file/archive. If I’m over 50 emails, I’m stressed. I prefer to keep it down to 20-30 but it gets a little out of control.

    I’ve also started sending certain things to folders, using filtering. For example, I send all of my blog comments to a folder and take breaks throughout the day to respond to them. Before doing this, I’d get distracted by them and either a) end up interrupting something more important to stop and respond, or b) forget to respond altogether. Doing this has been such a help!

    Stefan does the same as you – and I get stressed just looking at his inbox… but he doesn’t mind it… I guess it’s just a matter of personal preference!

  3. Alex

    I have a very similar strategy – I immediately deal with messages as they come in, whether it be responding, deleting or labeling. I only leave messages in my inbox (vs. archiving) if it’s something I need to deal with.

  4. Alissa Kelly

    My email strategy is EXACTLY the same! I absolutely hate when my inbox is over 50 because I can’t see all the emails. I also have many folders that I put emails in, and delete those I know I’ll never need right away. I’m always making folders, filing, deleting and organizing. I love to be organized and I’m that crazily organized in every aspect of my life!! I might have mild OCD… 😉

  5. Kelly | Fabulous K

    I am so terrible about email; especially when I am knee deep in design projects. I’ve recently adopted the not letting them get over 50 routine and it’s helping.

  6. Elizabeth

    I really like your GSD posts. They’re perfectly funny and practical, and most of all inspiring! I always feel so much better when everything is organized and under control.

    Cheers, Elizabeth of The Corner Apartment

  7. Raiana S @ lifeSTYLE

    I am totally in your shoes right now! I have never deleted an email, have several that I can’t control, and am waaay behind and far past what is acceptable in responding in a respectable time frame. This makes me feel totally cluttered. My closet is a mess, my office files, my kitchen cupboards, and my storage basement – all messy clutter…and you are so right when you say that causes clutter in your mind.
    I am loving your GSD, and am at a breaking point in needing to do just that with my life and organizing my clutter. I actually spent last night creating folders on my gmail, and plan to file delete and respond until its cleaned up.
    Thanks for the great tips!


  8. Sam [The Peak of Tres Chic]

    I keep mine to 1 page in Gmail as well, and use the labels to mark reciepts, travel info etc. Anything I can delete gets deleted. I used to save meaningful emails but found they took up too much space, so I printed the really important ones and put them in my memory box. A clean email box = a happy life 🙂


    I use about 50 million folders. If it doesn’t need an immediate response, or requires more work, I move it out of my inbox and put it on my to-do list with a deadline. Otherwise I leave it in my inbox and devote time to going through them all each day.

  10. Lauren | Seventeenth and Irving

    I’m loving your GSD series and practical working tips.

    I have a similar strategy to Lara – I just can’t let it get past one page in Gmail or everything suffers and I start stressing out. I use Disqus for my blog comments, so the email stays threaded (that helps a lot), then as I see anything incoming that might require a quick response I star it. To stay on task, I use the Pomodoro timer technique, so I work for 50 minutes then allow 10 minutes of email checking followed by 10 minutes of a break. It keeps me focused but relaxed all day long and I don’t feel stressed at night knowing there’s lots of things that need to be tackled the next day.

  11. Nikki Rappaport

    Email can get so out of control, but I have labels (all different colors of course) for everything and I archive everything as soon as it’s read and I no longer have to reply to it or act on it. I have a lot of filters so that things get labeled automatically and I can easily just hit archive. I try to keep my email until 50 each day… 20 is a good day. It takes some work but as soon as you have a system you’ll get the hang of it.

    Also, lets hang out soon? xo!

  12. Ms. Cathy

    1. Mark an item as super important with 2 flags

    2. Then mark an item as important with 1 flag.

    3. Then I start responding to the ones with 2 flags first, then 1 flag, then the others.

    4. I also have folders that I organize them into if necessary or important.

    I hope that helps!

    Cathy Trails

  13. wtmontana

    I was inspired by this post! I love this whole #GSD series!

    Went from 11,773 emails to 4,000 emails today! Also implemented a series of labels that will help me find what I’m looking for and keep everything under wraps.

    I hope I can get to the 50 emails at any one time and clearing out my inbox whenever I use it.


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