My Current Inbox Zero System

Amanda Mae
4 min readSep 27, 2022

I’ve written about my Inbox Zero system before, but it keeps evolving!

One thing I enjoy doing is reading articles here on Medium, or finding videos on YouTube, that describe a person’s productivity system. Everyone has little tweaks to some of the basics, and sometimes I get a great idea to change up how I have productivity and get to Inbox Zero. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon one such idea.

This YouTube creator demonstrated how to get a split view in your Gmail Inbox, and then showed how he uses labels to move things out of his main inbox and into next steps:

  • Action Item (things to do),
  • Waiting On (things someone else needs to do first) and
  • Read Later (informational things that aren’t urgent that can be reviewed later).

I LOVE THIS SYSTEM. It’s a total game-changer for me!

I employ David Allen’s Getting Things Done system’s Two Minute Rule for email — if I can tackle it in two minutes, I do it. If it’s going to take longer, I label it an Action Item and archive it. It moves out of my inbox, and into my special system of showing up as an Action Item, staying there until I finish the task and remove the label. This in particular is something I’m still working with, since many things that would be action items, like bills to pay, I tend to forward into my Todoist so I tackle it there. So I may end up replacing that label with something else. But this is also a good place to park emails that need longer responses.

My Waiting On label is used the most. These are shipping notifications of items that haven’t been delivered yet (so I can check the tracking), and email chains where I’m waiting on a response. These are things I want to be aware of, but they don’t have any current actions. I want to be able to refer to them quickly when I need to. Previously these were the emails that lingered in my inbox until the item arrived, and it’s rather satisfying to have a better place to park them.

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Amanda Mae

Amanda Mae is a librarian who has lived in too many states and enjoys anything involving books, history, and productivity.