Inbox Zero

Here’s how the most productive people manage their inbox. A collection of tips, apps and workflows.

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Made by Fabrizio and Francesco. Privacy Policy here.

Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant

Entrepreneur, AngelList Co-Founder

If you can’t delete an email without flinching or responding, you won’t scale.

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Advice

Pat Walls

Pat Walls

Founder Starter Story & Pigeon

“Email is dead” is the greatest lie in the tech industry.

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Opinion

Brendan Hufford

Brendan Hufford

Creator, SEO for the Rest of Us

Emails are either answered immediately, starred for later, forwarded to a teammate, or deleted. Following the Eisenhower Box.

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Tip

Paul Graham

Paul Graham

Y-Combinator Co-Founder

Slack fixed the chat half of email. I'm still waiting for a startup to fix the todo-list half.

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Opinion

Marc Kaöhlbrugge

Marc Kaöhlbrugge

Founder of W.I.P.

Keep your replies short and sweet.

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Advice

Kitze

Kitze

Founder React Academy

Turn off all email notifications. Phone, desktop, literally everywhere. You'll be fine.

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Advice

Sanebox

Sanebox

Your Inbox Perfected.

SaneBox AI identifies important messages, hides distractions, has Do Not Disturb, banishes annoying senders, reminds you to followup and more...

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$25 credit

Click to redeem

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App

Rich Vreenland

Rich Vreenland

Composer of “It Follows” soundtrack

I use a Chrome extension called 'Inbox When Ready' which will hide my inbox by default after a certain period of time, to add an extra step to prevent compulsive e-mail checking.

You can even lock yourself out of it after a certain number of attempts per day, but I felt that was too restrictive for me.

Inbox When Ready

Inbox When Ready

Add to Google Chrome

INSTALL

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Extension

New York Times

New York Times

Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth W. Dunn

Cutting back on email might reduce stress as much as picturing yourself swimming in the warm waters of a tropical island several times a day.

Read the study

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Opinion

Brod Gondwana

Brod Gondwana

CEO at Fastmail

The email in your mailbox is your copy of what was said, and nobody else can change it or make it go away.

The fact that the content of an email can’t be edited is one of the best things about POP3 and IMAP email standards. I admit it annoyed me when I first ran into it – why can’t you just fix up a message in place – but the immutability is the real strength of email.

You can safely forget the detail of something that you read in an email, knowing that when you go back to look at it, the information will be exactly the same.

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Opinion

Michael Waxman

Michael Waxman

Founder of Grouper

This widely circulated system for using Gmail from Andreas Klinger was the tipping point. It takes about 15 minutes to set up, and gives you a thoughtful, efficient system for plowing through your inbox.

The system itself is great, but I found that just having a system at all made it a lot easier to dive in to a full inbox.

Read about this system

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Advice

Rich Vreenland

Rich Vreenland

Composer of “It Follows” soundtrack

I use auto-advance (a Gmail setting) to make it easier to work through mail, send/delete/archive anything easily actionable, and snooze anything that I can't address this week.

It's easy this way to use the default keyboard shortcuts to quickly breeze through e-mail.

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Tip

Tempo

Tempo

The email client that helps you focus.

Effortlessly sort email around your schedule. Mark important ones as To-Do, then archive or snooze the rest. Enjoy communicating in a minimal and elegant interface.

Helping you hit Inbox Zero at your Tempo.

Made by a small team, with maximum love.

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30% OFF for 3 months

Click to request

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App

Andrew Lyon

Andrew Lyon

Founder Turtl

We need to view email as a framework, not an application. It is used for sending messages. That's it. It does this reliably and predictably.

Replacing email with 'smarter' features will inevitably leave people out. I understand the desire to have email just be one huge TODO list. But sometimes I just want to send a fucking message, not 'make a TODO.' Boom, I just 'broke' the new email.

Email works because it does nothing but messaging.

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Opinion

Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman

Author, Entrepreneur, and PR Strategist

The number one tool I use probably 20 times a day is FollowUpThen.

I can forward any email I want right to them, specify when I want to follow up, and they will send it back then.

Get it

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App

func.ovh

func.ovh

Superpowers for your email

Func.ovh is an e-mail based ecosystem allowing you to use features like reminders, journal and other, purely from the level of your e-mail client.

No additional software No additional accounts No additional fees!

The concept is really simple, just sent an e-mail to {action}@{service}.func.ovh and watch the magic happen 🙂

For more information visit - https://www.func.ovh/

Let's grow the E-mail Func together 🙂

Free in 2020

Click here to use

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James Hamblin

James Hamblin

Staff Writer The Atlantic

Best? Cheers? Thanks?

None of the above. You can write your name if it feels too naked or abrupt not to have something down there. But it shouldn’t, and it wouldn’t if it were the norm.

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Advice

Mailbrew

Mailbrew

Automated digests on things you love.

Personalized email digest from your favorite sources. Like RSS but better, with support for YouTube, Hacker News, Twitter, and more.

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40% OFF for 3 Months

Click here to claim the discount

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App

Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant

Entrepreneur, AngelList Co-Founder

Note to world — 95% of what you want to meet for can be easily handled in a 5-minute email exchange. Be efficient!

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Advice

Michael Seibel

Michael Seibel

CEO at Y Combinator

As an early stage investor I want to help startups succeed. If you email me – or anyone, really – your job is to succinctly communicate your situation and how I can help.

Clearly explain what you do.

Avoid any jargon or complex terms. Remember, I’m probably not using 100% of my brain when reading your email so optimize for that. I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m disrespecting your communication. That is not my intention. It’s just that I check my email all the time and I cannot guarantee that I won’t be distracted or that my mind won’t be focused on other things.

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Advice

Mathilde Collin

Mathilde Collin

CEO @ Front

Yes, email is being replaced for some types of communication. It’s nothing to be worried about.

We have more choices for how to communicate today, and can cherry-pick the best tool for every situation. It doesn’t mean email is dying. It simply means that the communication ecosystem has expanded.

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Opinion

Pat Walls

Pat Walls

Founder Starter Story & Pigeon

Need to do something every Tuesday at 1 PM? I set a Google Calendar event and turn email notifications on.

Forget push notifications, I treat email as the central source for these tasks so I never miss them.

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Tip

Francesco Di Lorenzo

Francesco Di Lorenzo

Co-Founder Mailbrew & Boxy Suite

Use a dedicated email address for newsletters, something like frank+news@gmail.com (note the "+news" part).

Thanks to a Gmail filter I created, emails directed to that address never hit my inbox and go to a dedicated label that I browse when I want to read them.

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Tip

Tim Sneath

Tim Sneath

Product Manager for Flutter & Dart

Moving emails out of the inbox is no good if it simply hides them from sight. It’s critical that they’re visible.

So I rely on the Multiple Inboxes feature in Gmail to ensure that three key folders are in view:

  • Follow Up

  • Waiting

  • Read Through.

Multiple Inboxes has been around for a while in Gmail, but only recently graduated from the experimental Labs area. You can enable it from the Advanced tab under Settings.

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Tip

Boxy Suite

Boxy Suite

Gmail, redesigned for Mac.

Multitasking kills productivity, and doing email in your browser is a recipe for disaster.

Boxy Suite brings Gmail, Calendar and other G Suite apps to your Mac, with single-purpose apps that look and feel native.

Preview

20% OFF

Click here to claim the discount

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App

Ryan Hoover

Ryan Hoover

Product Hunt Founder

I never understood inbox zero.

Every email isn’t more important than all the other commitments I’ve made.

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Opinion

Kitze

Kitze

Founder React Academy

Check and answer emails once per day.

Mark emails that can wait with a "fluff" label and answer them during the weekend.

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Tip

Leave Me Alone

Leave Me Alone

Unsubscribe from unwanted emails.

See all of your subscription emails in one place and unsubscribe from them with a single click.

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10% OFF

Use "INBOX_ZERO" at checkout

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App

Andrew Mellen

Andrew Mellen

Professional Organizer

Always update the subject line when you’re changing thread or content. Don’t allow threads to carry over for months. With subject lines, always use complete information. Try to avoid being vague with phrases like “checking in” or “update,” instead write “update on the Jones project.” It’ll save you and the recipient time because you won’t have to guess what’s inside the email.

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Tip

Diary Email

Diary Email

Email as your diary.

Diary Email is a calm place to capture your life and share the best moments with your friends. No big brother is trying to get into your head to sell you more stuff.

Preview

30% OFF

Enter "ZEROINBOX" during checkout

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App

FollowUpThen

FollowUpThen

Easily schedule email reminders

Forward an email to FollowUpThen and get it back in your inbox when you want to take action on it.

$5 off any plan

Click here to claim the discount

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App

Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman

Author, Entrepreneur, and PR Strategist

Subject lines are EVERYTHING, and they simply MUST include a benefit to the reader.

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Tip

DHH

DHH

Basecamp Co-Founder

Inbox zero is a fool's errand.

It puts you on the treadmill of dealing with every email as soon as it comes in, and even make that appear like the organized, virtuous thing to do. But it's not.

All email is not important. In fact, most of it is not important! I savor my Mailbrews exactly because they're not urgent. I don't try to read it all as soon as it hits my inbox.

This has been a primary mission for our new email product Hey – get you off the inbox-zero treadmill, and back to loving email, because you're reading the important stuff urgently, and the leisurely stuff when you have time.

No stress, no shame.

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Opinion

Glyph

Glyph

Programmer, creator of Twisted

The trick about getting to Inbox Zero is not in somehow becoming an email-reading machine, but in realizing that most email is worthless, and that’s OK.

If you’re not going to do anything with it, just archive it and forget about it.

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Advice

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis C. Madrigal

Staff Writer The Atlantic

Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices.

Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled 'web we lost.' It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services.

Yes, email is exciting. Get excited!

Read Essay

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Opinion

Matt Might

Matt Might

Director, Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Inst.

If the entire email fits in the subject, put it in the subject.

If you think that's rude, it's not.

If you insist that it's rude, put 'Thanks!' in the body.

If the email fits in the subject, it takes a click out of processing it, and raises the probability of a reply.

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Advice

Fabrizio Rinaldi

Fabrizio Rinaldi

Co-Founder Mailbrew & Boxy Suite

A few months ago I've decided to always press unsubscribe or mark as spam if I'm not interested in an email.

Since then, my inbox has become progressively cleaner, and now I hit inbox zero every few days effortlessly.

You need to unsubscribe ruthlessly.

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Tip

Manuel Frigerio

Manuel Frigerio

Founder of ReferralHero, SparkLoop

I’ve created a Gmail filter that matches the address of all newsletter I follow (using the OR operator to do it in a single query). This filter applies a “newsletters” label to each matching email and archives it.

I only check this label once a week.

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Tip

James Hamblin

James Hamblin

Staff Writer The Atlantic

Aspiring to inbox zero—an empty inbox, perfectly clean and organized and contained—is for most people some mythical idea. The world seems to be conspiring to keep it from happening. And obsessing over it can be totally counterproductive if it means you give priority to emails that don’t deserve your attention at the moment.

But inbox zero is totally possible if you add emails to a to-do list, along with all other worldly tasks, that you can keep prioritized according to what you really need to get done. What you really want out of any given day, week, or lifetime. Which is rarely to be beholden to the whims of an inbox.

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Opinion

Paul Graham

Paul Graham

Y-Combinator Co-Founder

There are many ways to fight spam. Which works best?

So far the best single solution is probably Bayesian filtering. But you don't have to choose just one. Many of the following solutions could be used in combination.

Read the essay

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Advice

Keith Rarick

Keith Rarick

Programmer

Mute. Heavily. The 'm' shortcut key is your friend.

Read more tips & shortcuts

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Tip

Ja Raphael

Ja Raphael

Writer Android Intelligence, Fast Company and more

For every email you encounter, choose from the following fast-triage options:

  • If a message requires no action on your behalf, archive it immediately.

  • If a message requires a simple reply that you can knock out in a minute or less, respond right then and there—and then archive it immediately.

  • If a message requires some level of thought or response that you can’t get to right away, snooze it to a time and date when you will be able to handle it—whether it’s later that same day, sometime the following week, or on a Friday two months down the road.

Read the guide to inbox zero

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Advice

Pigeon

Pigeon

Powerful CRM inside Gmail.

Your business runs on email - so why are you using tools that don't integrate with it?

Get replies, close deals, and attract customers. All inside Gmail.

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Pigeon for Gmail

Pigeon for Gmail

Add to Google Chrome

INSTALL

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App

Paul Graham

Paul Graham

Y-Combinator Co-Founder

Every time I get an email saying "just bumping this up in your inbox," it reminds me of the huge startup that's missing.

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Opinion

Kitze

Kitze

Founder React Academy

Gmail is overrated.

Use Missive instead of Gmail, especially if you have an assistant or a team answering your emails, it's amazing.

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Get it

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App

Hide Feed

Hide Feed

Get things done without distractions.

Checking your email too often? Want to read and write emails without getting distracted by all the new ones?

Hide your inbox by default and stay focused.

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Hide Feed

Hide Feed

Add to Google Chrome

INSTALL

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Extension

Made by Fabrizio and Francesco with Gatsby, Framer Motion and Zeit.

Thanks Pat Walls for the feedback and support.