Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

My Discovery of “Inbox Zero”

Anna Rova


Want possibilities and new everything? Clean up your Gmail! Well, that’s what I did.

They say if you want to invite something new into your life, you need to create space for it. Want a man in your life? Clean up your house and empty your closet. “Invite” him into your life by allowing him space.

Want your life to change? Clean up your mess, organize your documents, finances etc. and watch changes and new opportunities flow into your life.

That’s what I did. And I started with my Gmail Inbox :)

I also did remove my work account from everywhere, updated my LinkedIn Profile and cleaned up my desktop from junk. I have also bought a new domain name for Business Idea #1 described in the Day 1 post here (domain name shall remain (private for now ;)

But let’s get back to cleaning up Gmail cause that was quite a revelation!

(I have to give thanks to my beloved Estring a.k.a future husband for teaching me this!)

Confession: I have never ever cleaned up my inbox.

Not in the proper way, anyways. Besides the fact that I had 1,762 unread emails in my inbox (which I thought was kinda awful but not such a big deal #whatever), I also had more that 3,000 “read” emails in my inbox that were just sitting there. Honestly, I never paid much attention to this… Who cares that there is an incredibly big number in your “unread” and on your mail app on your iPhone?

Sometimes I did archive them but most of the times I didn’t. “Inbox zero” was something for perfectionists and OCDs, I thought. When in fact, I didn’t really understand what “inbox zero” means and how to properly manage my email.

Ok, are you ready for this? Check out this fantastic drawing:

This is how Gmail works.

Estring (my future husband) tried to explain this revolutionary concept to me by laying out in front of me all the spoons, forks and knives out of the kitchen drawer and saying “See, if all your cutlery is out of the drawer, it’s all over the place (and that’s not the right way to live your life.) But you can put it all into the corresponding places and you’ll be clean and organized.” Same concept applied to my emails, apprently. They need to be organized and put in the corresponding places and my email needs to be “empty” at least once a day when I choose to check it… revolutionary indeed!

Another parallel is laundry. After you’ve done your laundry, your stuff has to be properly categories into underwear, dresses and shirts and put to corresponding drawers and closets, right? And the couch/bed/floor where you left your pile of clean laundry has to disappear. Duh!

So that’s what I did last night. Two hours in my inbox and more than 3,000 emails disappeared into the “Archive” folder or into the “Trash” folder (most of the inbox went in here. Bye bye.)

As I watched the number of emails in the inbox go down from 3,000 to 2,000 to 1,000 and, ultimately, fall below 400 and then down to ZERO, I felt liberated. It really was like a cleansing exercise. I felt light, easy and free!! (I also emptied my “trash” folder that had 6,000! emails…)

The sorting process is quite tiring, cumbersome and annoying. The easiest way for me was to go to the oldest emails and notice the things that were “subscriptions” and I knew I had more than 1 email in my inbox. I have filtered by similar emails and then selected all (powerful feature!) and either deleted “Shift +3” (most of the time) or archived “e” (for stuff that I think I might need. )

Golden rule of inbox: if you are in doubt — archive.

Oh, before I forget…one more thing. Do yourself a favour and unsubscribe from all the shit you don’t need (when in doubt, unsubscribe. Don’t worry you’ll subscribe again if you REALLY need it.) Use this service: You’re welcome :)

After that, the hardest part were the personal emails and the “no reply” emails and the all the f*cking notifications from Skype, Spotify, Soundcloud, iCloud, Apply, Airbnb… All that “important” stuff that we need to get notified of. So I have deleted most of those or archived the important ones. And then the super personal emails (from past lovers or pen pals ;-) just went into archive.


That’s how my Inbox looks as of me writing this post:

The path to “inbox zero.”

So I got 6 emails to my inbox today. WOW! This will also help me being conscious of the actual inbox emails I’m getting and why! And so here is my daily cleanup logic from now on:

Shifting through daily inbox to reach “inbox zero”

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my first ever INBOX ZERO! Happy dance and fireworks and some “namastes” are required!

So that’s it for today. Major step forward. LOL.

I’ve also cleaned up my google calendar and I’m in the process of cleaning up my laptop and I should probably do the same with my google drive.

Questions about my journey, feedback and comments are highly appreciated below!

P.S. One of my emails brought me this #truthbomb from Danielle Laporte:

Fuck yeah.



Anna Rova

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