Inbox Zero is about process. Here is mine

Kara Monroe
13 min readAug 26, 2022
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

I learn so much from reading other people’s processes for dealing with problems. I love to read a process and see what resonates with me. If it resonates with me, I will often self-experiment to see if it works for me too. Hence, I’m sharing my process for consistently clearing my inbox — now for more than two months — the first time in history I’ve been able to keep my inbox clean and feel on top of that beast, WITHOUT it being drudgery and hard.

What tools do you need to make my system work?

  1. An email account. I’m using gmail for both my business and personal emails and I use this same process for both email accounts.
  2. A to-do list app that allows you to forward items to it by email. I use TickTick, but this will also work in Todoist, Team Nirvana, and more.
  3. A “read it later” app that allows you to forward items to it by email. I use the new Readwise Reader which will soon go to public beta but Instapaper and Pocket will also work for this.
  4. A calendar.
  5. You may want a note-taking tool like Evernote, Notion, Roam Research, Ample Note, or Obsidian. Regardless, you need a place where you keep notes for each current project.

Do the prep work

There is a little thinking and planning you need to do in order to set yourself up for this process to work for you. I think the prep work will take you about two hours, so I suggest you set an appointment with yourself for two hours to prepare your systems for getting to and staying at Inbox Zero. Speaking of setting an appointment with yourself to set yourself up with this procedure, that is also our first ongoing step for maintenance as well.

Prep Work Step 1: Make an ongoing appointment with yourself for the work of system upkeep

A few years ago, a young sales person working her first job out of college was connecting her laptop to a projector for a presentation. I had arrived early for the meeting and we were chatting as she set up. Once she made the connection, her calendar app appeared on the screen. I noticed a solid line of appointments across every single day in the morning and…

Kara Monroe

I am a world traveler, part-time road warrior, and home body all wrapped up in one gadget-loving package. Writer, photographer, chef, and aspiring artist.