Email Zero vs. Inbox Infinity: The Great Debate

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The average employee checks their email up to fifteen times per day, and the number of emails per day is just increasing. So, is your email inbox a source of frustration or a source of joy? Okay, we know it's not the latter. But if you're constantly stressed by an overflowing inbox, we can understand your urge to run.

However, you don't have to escape your inbox. You just need to make a choice – Inbox Zero, or Inbox Infinity. While you may be familiar with the concept of Email Zero, you probably haven't made it a priority. There's just too much work to be done. Perhaps Inbox Infinity is the solution. Right?

The great debate on Email Zero vs Email infinity continues. But when you consider them side-by-side with your business's future in mind, there's only one choice. If you want to know what that choice should be, keep reading.

What Is Email Zero?

Email Zero, as the name implies, means keeping your email inbox at a constant state of zero. In other words, zero unattended emails, and zero stress about how to organize that overflowing email inbox.

Where did it all begin? Inbox Zero was coined by productivity expert Merlin Mann. This was his strategic response to his overflowing inbox. It is designed to reduce email overload, but does it work? It certainly does what it is designed to do, but it can be challenging.

Getting your business email inbox to the zero state requires daily dedication and commitment. You'll need to set aside time, consistently, to keep your email inbox on track. Meanwhile, the number of incoming emails will just grow exponentially.

This is why so many people have resisted and looked for other ways to deal with the issue of a bursting inbox. It has led to a whole new way of dealing with those overflowing email inboxes. It's an approach called Inbox Infinity.

What Is Inbox Infinity?

What is the Inbox Infinity approach to emails? It's the opposite of Email Zero's targeted email management style. It's more a lack of email management and an increase in total resignation to your inbox's fate.

Whereas Email Zero enthusiasts tackle the challenge of that growing inbox head-on, Email Infinity proponents don't do this. Rather, they advocate total acceptance of that long line of emails in your inbox that stretches to infinity.

Inbox Infinity means allowing the countless emails to accumulate in your inbox, not resisting while letting the digital tide of emails flow over you. It encourages acceptance of the fact that you just can't always handle the growing number of emails. In other words, respond to what you can and ignore the rest.

Which Is the More Efficient Method?

Inbox Infinity may seem more appealing and healthier for your mental state at the moment. But the reality is, it's not practical, nor is it good for your business's image.

To be seen as professional and capable, you must attend to emails in a reliable and timely fashion. You don't save time, or get more work done, by ignoring your emails. You do that by attending to them regularly, so they don't have time to build up again to gargantuan proportions.

Email Zero/Inbox Zero fits the bill. Inbox Infinity merely adds to the existing problem.

Are Inbox Zero and Infinity the Only Two Options?

So, are Inbox Zero and Inbox Infinity your only options? No, not at all. Most people aim for Inbox Zero, yet land somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. And that's okay. You'll find Inbox Zero a challenge sometimes. You'll find yourself slipping towards Inbox Infinity at times.

Your choice may also be influenced by other factors. For example, Inbox Zero is easier to achieve when your team collaborates on email management with a shared inbox. Inbox Infinity seems more appealing when you're a solopreneur struggling to stay up-to-date with incoming emails.

So rather than place too much pressure on yourself at first, aim for that middle ground, and slowly make your way to Inbox Zero. Only you know what system works best for your needs.

Helpmonks - achieve inbox zero with a shared inbox

How to Achieve Email Zero

Email Zero, or Inbox Zero, is not that difficult to achieve when you have a strategy in place. These four pointers will put you on the path to Email Zero.

1. Set Yourself a Target

Think about what your biggest email management challenges are, and set yourself a target. You may be weary of the abundance of spam and junk mail. Perhaps you are struggling to get around to replying to all those business emails. Whatever the biggest source of your frustration, set about targeting that first.

Be realistic. Rome was not built in a day, and neither can Email Zero always be achieved in a day. It all depends on how cluttered your inbox has become. The most important thing is to make a start. In time, it'll get easier to keep your inbox under control.

2. Practice the Four D's

The ‘Four D's' refer to ‘delete, delegate, do and defer'. These are the actions that you need to incorporate if you want to achieve the Email Zero state. It makes the most sense to do them in the order described above, but you can choose whichever process works best for you.

  • Delete all of the unsolicited and irrelevant emails you consider ‘junk' mail, as soon as you see them.
  • Delegate (forward) all tasks that are not your responsibility or that you aren't qualified for.
  • Do the rest, in order of the most urgency.
  • Defer anything that doesn't need immediate attention by moving it to a specific folder for later reading.

3. Make Time to Save Time

Once you have mastered Inbox Zero, it will save you valuable time in your workday. But to save that time, you need to make time. That means you should allocate a specific time each day to email management. This will make it easier to keep your newly cleaned-up inbox clutter-free.

Choose a time frame that works well for you. If you ever have to skip it because of other work duties or a day off, catch up the next day. But don't leave it for too long, or you'll undo all the hard work you did getting to Inbox Zero. Need more in-depth advice about achieving Inbox Zero? Read our complete guide.

4. Get the Right Email Management Tool

Any task is easier when you use the right tools. If you haven't been able to master Inbox Zero, you've probably been using the wrong ones. Email Zero relies on quick and easy categorization of emails. That is how you'll get your inbox organized and free from clutter.

But every business is different, and you'll have unique needs to meet. That's why the best email management tools include custom folders, labels and more so you can organize mail in a way that suits your business best.

Helpmonks - email management tool for your inbox


Email Zero or Inbox Infinity, which one is right for you? If you want to stay up-to-date with industry development, stay ahead of upcoming events, and stay on track with projects, there's no doubt about it. Email Zero is the clear winner.

But to reach Inbox Zero, you need the right strategy and the right email management tool. Helpmonks is an email management solution with a difference. It's part of an all-in-one platform for email management, customer engagement, customer service, CRM and email marketing.

If it's in an email, Helpmonks can help you organize it. Our shared inbox with built-in CRM and collaboration features makes teamwork simple, so you can reach Inbox Zero even faster than you thought possible. Register an account and start your free trial today.

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