Illustration by: Sanna Lund

This is Lars. He loves letters. He likes to open them, read them and send them.

Lars has an inbox where all the letters end up. Every five minutes or so, he takes a look in the inbox. Maybe there’s something new?

There’s a lot of spam and subscriptions, but once in a while, there’s something of importance.

When Lars have finished reading all the letter, he puts them back in the inbox again. Lars’s inbox is filled to the brim and about to explode.

Are you like Lars?

Somedays, I am, and that’s no good. Checking your email inbox again and again, just in case, is stressful and takes time. It’s also hard to know what’s of real importance and not.

The worst is when I read all the mail in the inbox and then leave it there. I never shove letters back into my letterbox once I’ve read them in the real world.

I’ve put up some simple rules for myself to handle my electronic inbox:

  • Disable notifications (sound and vibration).
  • Try to open the inbox no more than three times a day.
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters.
  • Throw unwanted mail in the trash.
  • Do you need to act on the email? Do it right away, answer, and archive if it takes less than five minutes.
  • Will it take you longer than five minutes? Add the task to your to-do list and then archive the mail.
  • Is no action needed? Then just archive.
  • Strive for inbox zero.

Following these rules helps me be less like Lars. I get more time to do fun stuff when I’m the boss over my inbox. How do you handle your email?