How To Reboot Your Inbox And Give Email A Fresh Start


This video is part of the “Lean Email Simple System (LESS)” course on email productivity. It was initially being sold for $197, but now I’m giving it away for free on this blog. Click here to learn more. 

Download the slides for this presentation in PDF format here.

In the first video of Module 1, you’ll get a very simple, 2-step process for rebooting your inbox.

You’ll also learn:

– the number one reason for why to reboot your inbox at all

– how you can do it in just 2 simple steps

– how it helps you manage your inbox better and achieve (and keep) an inbox zero

It is a short, but very powerful, video.

Share your questions and comments below or on Twitter.

<< Check out the previous video

Watch the next video >>


— Begin Transcript —

Welcome to Module 1. This is where the actual work starts – and by work, I don’t mean tedious, boring work. I mean clearing out your inbox in an efficient manner and keeping it clean so you can have a productive and worry-free life. And I know that’s a big promise, so let’s get started right away.

The first thing we’re going to do is reboot your inbox. What do I mean by that? We’re going to give your inbox a fresh start. That’s regardless if you have ten or a couple of hundred emails or even thousands of unread messages. But why are we going to do this? There are a couple of reasons.

Why reboot your inbox

First of all, psychologically, it is much better for you to know that you’ve managed all your emails and you only have to process whatever comes to your inbox from this point onward. This is in no way meant to be you swipe it under the rug and you just forget you have all these unread emails that you need to process, but psychologically, it’s much better for you to just log in and you see that you have just a couple of emails that you need to process instead of hundreds or even thousands of messages.

Second of all, we’re doing this for a practical reason as well, because when your inbox is full of emails, whether they’re read or unread, it’s much harder for you to just look for something that you need, find that one email that you were looking for or that one piece of information. There is a psychological reason to rebooting your inbox, and there is also a practical.

Let’s get started. How do you actually reboot your inbox in two steps? The process is very simple. I’ll walk you through it, I’ll give you the basics in this video, and then in the next video, I’m going to provide you with a live demonstration so you can see how this whole thing ties together and how this actually works.

Step #1 – create a temporary folder

Step #1 is very simple. It’s creating a temporary folder. In Gmail, folders are actually called labels, so don’t get stuck on the actual folder versus label. You don’t have to name it “temp,” but I have named it like this for a reason, and the reason is that this is meant to be a temporary solution. It’s not meant to be out of sight, out of mind, you just get rid of all your emails and you pretend that the problem just got eliminated on its own. This is meant to be a temporary folder where you keep all your emails for the time being until you actually learn how to process them and how to manage them better. Step #1 is you create a temporary folder or a label.

Step #2 – move all emails to temporary folder

Step #2 is you move all your emails from your inbox to your temporary folder. And by “all,” I actually mean absolutely all emails, whether they’re important, whether they’re not important, read, unread, starred, doesn’t matter. You just get all your emails, select all your emails, and just move them from your inbox to your temporary folder.

Bonus step #3 – delete all old and unread emails

And of course, for all you overachievers, there is a bonus Step #3, and this is completely optional, but it’s highly recommended. Step #3 is delete all unread emails which are older than 30 days. Because let’s be honest: if you received an email which is more than 30 days old and you haven’t even opened that email, or you’ve opened it and you never actually took the time to take any action or reply to it or delete it, chances are, you’re not going to.

I’m not saying this to be grim or be negative, but chances are, if you haven’t processed it over the last 30 days, you’re not going to. Many of us have had emails which are older than 30 days, older than even a couple of months, and they just sit in your inbox. They just make your inbox fuller with more unnecessary messages and just create clutter. If you give yourself the option to just let go of these emails and just delete everything that you haven’t read over the last 30 days, it’s going to make your inbox that much clearer. But again, this is a completely optional step, and it’s up to you whether you want to take it or not, but I highly recommend it.

Once you’ve moved all these emails from your inbox to your temporary folder, what are you going to do with them? If you actually were one of those overachievers and you took the bonus Step #3, a lot of those emails are gone, and now you have only the ones from the last 30 days. But if you haven’t, don’t worry; we’re going to process all of them. Some of the emails are going to be eliminated in bonus Step #3. Also, a lot of these emails are going to be eliminated during the course. As you go through the modules and you progress through the videos, there’s going to be different actions for you to take, and the more you take them, the more the emails from your temporary folder are just going to disappear.

Over to you now

Regardless of whether you took Step #3 and regardless of how many emails get eliminated during this course, some of them you need to actually manually process. But don’t do it right now, don’t think about it right now; there is a whole module on email processing, and that’s Module 3, and that’s coming. For now, just take the two steps, open your temporary folder, and then just move everything from your inbox to your temp folder.

Now that you know the theory behind this process and behind how to reboot your inbox, it’s time for a live demo. I’m going to actually walk through the entire process from start to finish, and you can just look over my shoulder. If you were not sure how this process works, now you’re going to have an actual visual blueprint. So just get to the next video, and you’re going to see me going through the process from start to finish.

— End Transcript —

What are some other techniques to clean out and reboot your inbox? Share your experience (and questions) in the comment section below:

  • shaimaa

    the video not working!