This week on #bufferchat, we discussed tips for getting to inbox zero with our guest, Scott Greenstone! Our community talked about what “inbox zero” meant to them, shared advice for email productivity, and much more. Read on to find out all of the great tips and tricks that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

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Bufferchat on Aug 31, 2016: Getting to Inbox Zero

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 117 participants; 571 tweets; reach of 1,072,334
2nd Bufferchat: 199 participants;1,269 tweets; reach of 1,310,761

Q1: What does reaching “inbox zero” mean to you, and what does it look like?

From Scott:

  • #InboxZero is an empty Inbox; I use  and it looks like this.
  • It’s definitely something you need to work at to get to first, then it’s easy to maintain with a proper workflow.

From the community:

  • “Once you get down the method, it transforms into a mentality to accomplish what’s essential and cut out what’s not.” @theready
  • “I try to keep only emails that I need to complete a task or respond to in my inbox. So inbox zero means doing my to-do list.” @SearcySledge
  • “Reaching “Inbox Zero” is all about reducing the cognitive overload on brain by organizing and managing your inbox.” @bharatpc
  • “Emails actioned, tagged and filed to make them easily findable. Stress level zero.” @suellewellyn
  • “A zen place where the # of emails don’t threaten to drown you, when you’re able to respond promptly & efficiently.” @TheWanderLyz

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: How often do you reach inbox zero? Do you want that to be different in any way?

From Scott:

  • By using my steps in my book Snooze Pin Done, I reach #InboxZero multiple times per day.

From the community:

  • “I set aside an admin morning on a Monday to start the week from inbox zero then try to keep it low each evening.” @GoldStarMedia
  • “I haven’t hit a true 0 in YEARS 🙂 Not too concerned to get to absolute zero, but reducing the clutter would be good.” @SimTara
  • “In my personal email, I subscribe to brands with great email marketing that keeps me inspired. That tab is almost never @ 0.” @Brandfolder
  • “I aim for zero once a week, but I am happy if it is under 5 in general.” @_nicolemich
  • “I try to reach inbox zero by the end of the work week (typically Thursday) so I can plan ahead for the coming week!” @danielleirogers

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What’s your strategy for dealing with a new email?

From Scott:

  • I rely on the idea of touch every email once then #Snooze to get things out/bring them back.
  • Snooze till you need it, mark as done if you dont have to act. Respond if needed right away.
  • If [getting to the email] later never comes after three times of snoozing, then I just mark it done and move on.

From the community:

  • “If it’s actionable, I like to make it into a task in , then file the email away.” @bentleyhqcom
  • “It lives in my inbox, until I’ve dealt with it. If it’s been dealt with, it gets filed. Unanswered emails live in the inbox.” @stephfowler_
  • “Is this on fire or pertain to the task at hand? Y/N? If yes, I address, if no, I put on hold.” @JessOB1kenobi
  • “Reply right away if I can, even if just to establish expectations. Mark as unread if I can’t address it yet.” @milestech
  • “Read, act, consider, file or delete. Repeat.” @jeremypmurphy

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: Do you label/categorize your emails? If so, how does your labeling system work?

From Scott:

  • I rarely use labels and rely more on the powerful search capabilities in .
  • Once I filter something twice, I then create an auto filter for it.

From the community:

  • “For my ‘work work’ email I have separate folders for each of my clients, fellow associates, etc. Easy to stay organized!” @FatherFoodFun
  • “Once dealt with, all emails will go into ‘Processed’ folder. If email needs reviewing, I create appointment.” @LindaAlpin
  • “Color coding for life. Different colors for various broad categories.” @_lblake
  • “Label/categorize, no. Folders, auto rules and flags, absolutely. If I have time to label, I have time to reply.” @rmacklinrecruit
  • “Love, love, LOVE ‘s smart filters. Really helps with categorizing e-mails on a per client/project basis.” @kookypixel

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to staying organized with emails?

From Scott:

  • My biggest challenge is prioritizing. #Snooze feature in really helps me deal.

From the community:

  • “Making sure I do the things I postpone to do later rather than postponing them again.” @Russ4Google
  • “Prioritizing what emails need to be dealt with ASAP, and which ones can wait!” @EspyServicesInc
  • “NEVER look at an email and think ‘I’ll remember to do that’ – Always my biggest mistake.” @TheSarahMoore
  • “Subscriptions, some of them send me emails everyday. For this reason I’ve started to use UnRoll.Me.” @alberMoire
  • “Purging! I get so many requests and offers via email. I’m excited about new option.” @ShereesePubHlth

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: Do you use any tools, apps or processes to improve your email productivity?

From Scott:

  • I use which has many tools and features to help reach #InboxZero.

From the community: 

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What is your favorite email feature that helps you use email more efficiently?

From Scott:

  • I could never reach #InboxZero without the help of #Snooze in

From the community:

  • “Third party add-on RightInbox’s for Gmail. Love the ability to send later if I’m working late.” @SoleCreativeMkt
  • “Linking to a to-do list for longer term management.”  @JessChild15
  • “I LOVE undo, which helps with efficiency when I screw up (no attachments, missed info, etc).” @SimTara
  • “Boomerang for Gmail. Automatic reminders + send later features = happiness.” @BoldnZestyBlog

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Scott for sharing all of his awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm BST (GMT+1)  OR at 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10). Join our Slack community with over 2,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • Really useful topic this week – inbox zero changed the way I work (mainly thanks to Mailbox (RIP!)). Polymail is my go-to now. It saves me from so much stress!

    Thanks, Arielle!

    • This is awesome to hear! Getting efficient systems in place for staying organized makes such a difference for me too. So glad you enjoyed this topic!

  • Shawn Wood

    Way to go on this post man. Really killer stuff. I’ll be back to read your other posts.