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Do You Actually Want to Get to Inbox Zero?


Inbox zero. It’s the holy grail of email management. File your emails neatly away and keep your inbox empty, the theory goes, and you’ll never have to worry about finding what you’re looking for, ever again. But is having no emails at all in your primary inbox actually a reasonable — or desirable — goal?


(Photo Credit: nokhoog_buchachon/

Fast Company recently interviewed Of a Kind founder Erica Cerulo, whose email system is the exact opposite of the purported ideal.

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Rebecca Greenfield writes:

Erica Cerulo describes her inbox as “the scariest.” “I don’t delete anything. I have hundreds of thousands of emails–I had to buy more Gmail storage,” the Of a Kind founder told Fast Company. If inbox zero is zen, Cerulo’s email situation is mayhem. But, she doesn’t feel overwhelmed by it; she embraces the chaos. “My system works for me,” she added.

This controlled chaos works for her business partner, Claire Mazur, too. In fact, the pair cc each other on every email — something that might make some cringe at the thought of such email inundation, but which the pair says allows them to collaborate effectively.

So is inbox zero right for you, or would you be better off with a more chaotic approach? In short, it depends on you: how you work best, what your schedule is like, and how you relate to your co-workers.

If getting to zero emails in your inbox is a source of frustration and not a step toward Zen, walk away, and don’t look back.

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How do you handle email? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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