email overload can be a thing of the past

The Myth Of Inbox Zero


Successful inbox management in business is a modern-day miracle! Gobal business continuing keeps on accelerating its online migration at a rate of knots. So this has left many owners with inbox overload. I struggle to cope with the thought of hundreds of emails sitting there stressing you out. It is completely unfathomable for me to imagine how you could sleep at night with upwards of five, six, ten, twenty thousand emails choking up your inbox. It almost makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. 

Setting a standard you’re happy with, then diligently working that standard as a routine part of your workday is fundamental to your effective business leadership. At Operation Verve, we have a rule of no more than 30 emails being allowed to occupy our inboxes. Implementing this limit in your business will help you too. It keeps your current jobs front of mind without getting lost in the backlog of other messages hiding what’s really important.

The idea of “Inbox Zero” is a trendy ideal you might fantasize about as an owner. If this utopian approach is on your business wishlist, you’re going to love the tips coming up in my next article. Stay tuned! 

However, your inbox management probably falls waaaaay short of this unrealistic goal. There are several reasons to let yourself off the hook by questioning the Inbox Zero ideal:

It’s a misunderstood concept

Inbox Zero is a management concept developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann. The theory aims to allow people to clear their inbox entirely. In its original conception, the Zero in this idea never referred to the number of messages that should be left in an inbox. Instead, it’s about the “amount of time an employee’s brain is in his or her box.” This notable difference casts doubt over the literal way people interpret the Inbox Zero concept. 

successful inbox management is easier than inbox zero

“Good order is the foundation of all things.” Edmund Burke

Unrealistic goals can be detrimental 

To strive for a goal and never achieve it undermines your confidence, motivation and momentum. It’s the depressing feeling of not losing the weight. Blowing the budget.  Staring at the book on your bedside table for a month. When you set a goal and come up short, you risk receiving the destructive message that you’re not capable of success. Chasing the ideal of literally no emails in your inbox can be a pipe dream. You might be setting yourself up for an inevitable failure that was never realistic or valuable in the first place. Successful inbox management for you is about setting goals you can sustainably achieve for the long term.

Out of sight equals out of mind

As a successful business leader, you have lots to manage at once. When you have multiple pots on the boil at any one time, it’s important to keep those pots in plain view. The last thing you need is to be lured into a false sense of security. Avoid the risk of an empty inbox making things look complete in your business. If there are jobs to do in your inbox, keep them where you can see them. Otherwise you risk forgetting important items, or keeping people waiting with projects that need to be done to advance your business. 

Instead of shooting for the stars with Inbox Zero, why don’t you set more realistic aims to manage your incoming emails? This will happen by building a more sustainable system for yourself. Successful inbox management in business is just one foundational aspect of getting things pumping overall. In my next article, I will show you 5 simple steps to stay on top of the mayhem in your emails. If you set up a daily routine for working those emails you’ll find your blood pressure returning to normal as you plough through your messages. I can’t wait to share!