Virtual Inbox Zero

The idea of Inbox Zero really appeals to me. There are many variations, but… it can go wrong and I’m not there yet. What does this mean for me?

Well this isn’t an introspection post, it’s a method idea post:

  1. I group mail into threads and sort them to put the most recently updated at the bottom1.
  2. I send myself a mail with the subject ------------------------------ ( $n $date ) ------------------------------, where n is the next message number in the inbox.
  3. That is my Virtual Inbox Zero.
    • Messages after that may be new, or they’re part of a thread attached to something new. Better deal with them.
  4. Messages above that are old.
    • They aren’t growing.
    • They are still visible, scrollbar permitting.
    • Sure I need to deal with them one day…
  5. The difference ( number in the divider’s subject ) minus ( its current message number ) is profit!

  1. I use mutt for this. (See also the manual)

    set sort=threads
    set sort_aux=last-date-received

    This avoids the problem of getting a new mail on an old thread, and not seeing it; also solved by actually reaching Inbox Zero!