I read David Allen‘s highly popular book Getting Things Done a couple years ago.
While I feel GTD is too rigid to my liking, but there are few things that I took from that book that stuck with me.
One of them is Inbox Zero, which is a discplined practice to keep your inbox empty or close to empty.
Why is this important? According to Merlin Mann, our time and attention are finite and when an inbox is confused with a “to do” list, productivity suffers. I didn't realise how liberating it is for my brain not having to scan a long list of emails everytime I open Gmail.
While it's rare for me to have zero email on my inbox, but nowadays my inbox rarely contain more than 10 emails. By doing some simple things such as unsubscribing from few mailing list that aren't useful or setting up auto payment for my bills, I can decrease that number even more.
Here is a good quote from David to close:
You keep your Inbox to zero by dealing with whatever shows up in there as rigorously as you do your answering machine at home. The access you give the world to create input is up to you. You have to decide what you want to invite/allow into your world, and match that with a behavior to process it at the same speed.