How I Keep My Email Inbox Under Control

I receive about 100 new emails per day, not counting email messages that come into support platforms at my work.

I’m obsessively dedicated to keeping my inbox clean. And I manage to do it (for the most part) without fancy systems, apps, or notifications.

Here’s a quick overview of how I structure my inboxes so I can get to inbox zero as quickly as possible without forgetting things:

The only good email is a resolved email.


  • Inbox: New incoming emails. I hate these. They’re what the system is for.
  • ATTN Required: Unprocessed emails that have just come in or that require further tasks or attention.
  • Pending and Followup: Emails in ongoing conversations after I have answered and am waiting on a response, emails related to tasks or conversations that are on hold.
  • Resolved: Emails that are completely answered and require no further tasks or attention.

I check into my ATTN required emails once or twice a day in best case scenario and try to keep it under 10 at all times. Pending and followup should get at least two checks per week.

Do this, and you might just get a handle on all of those emails people are sending you.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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