Your inbox is one of the most dangerous places to start your day. As one entrepreneur put it, starting with your email is like handing today's agenda to someone else. It automatically puts you into reaction mode rather than a proactive space.

Personally, I've tried inbox zero, shortening responses to five sentences and many other techniques to tame the beast. The most effective I just learned from 1 Second Everyday founder (and fellow TED Speaker) Cesar Kuriyama.

It took me 10 minutes to set up, and that was only because I don't regularly use Gmail filters. The next day, I woke up to two emails instead of the usual dozens. I peeked into the "Optional" folder and found lots of solicitations, newsletters and spam. Like Kuriyama, I now hop in once a day and empty out most of it.

It has easily cut my email consumption by 90 percent.

Why it works

Here's a fact: We don't know how much we really consume. The problem is that, individually, each moment on social media, reading an email or taking a phone call is small. We don't recognize how they build up.

Separating the "unsubscribe" email from your direct email messages forces you to see how much comes in every single day. And better yet, you can quickly scan the headlines for important material and mass delete the rest as necessary.

Sure, go for inbox zero and keep your emails short, but you should absolutely use this technique in Gmail or any inbox management tool you use. It has already saved me hours a day, and that's time well spent on truly connecting to others through direct emails.

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Published on: Mar 28, 2018