Zero Inbox. Zero Spam. Email Nirvana.

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Believe. It really does exist. For years I have lived with a flood of daily spam messages and an email inbox that scrolled for pages and pages. I absolutely dreaded opening my email application. Every time I did, there were new spam messages to delete, a new fire to put out, and a list of rotting emails that I had put off answering for weeks, even months, because each required something more than a simple response, each almost a project in itself.

Not for lack of will, I tried a number of things to improve the email experience. I set my mail application to only check email every 15 minutes. I turned off the email alert sound so arriving email would not distract me from the current task at hand. I would make heroic efforts to clear my inbox each day before shutting down the computer but the more difficult emails would survive and sit in my inbox along with half-written email drafts in the drafts folder until the next cleaning battle which was essentially a never ending saga. On the eve of every third new moon, I would sheepishly and with great guilt, looking over my shoulder to ensure that not even the office janitor was around, file the oldest unanswered emails away as if they had been taken care of properly. My email experience was clearly broken; my inbox weighed me down every time I looked at it and there seemed to be no way out.

That all changed two weeks ago when an innocent Twitter message from Scott Beale of Laughing Squid appeared on my screen. “SpamSieve, Kills Spam Dead on Mac OS X.” Boy, I needed less spam. I started reading the short post and had SpamSieve installed before I was finished. I then read the related post on Merlin Mann’s “Inbox Zero”, a system for keeping your inbox clear. I had heard of the system before but never really got into it. Now that there was a video about it, I figured it would be easy enough to watch (video). From that hour on until now, this is the view of my inbox…

Screenshot of my empty email inbox

That’s correct, it’s empty. My email inbox is completely empty. Zero inbox, zero spam.

Now, you maybe thinking, “Yeah sure, it looks like that for the screenshot. For a few hours maybe, but tomorrow there’ll be a growing list of emails again.” I assure you that my inbox has been completely empty for two weeks solid.

You too can experience email Nirvana. (And you don’t need to be on a Mac and use SpamSieve. If you have corporate email with spam filtering, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. you probably have spam filtering that is good enough. If you host your own domains and use POP or IMAP mail, find a good third-party spam filter for your mail application.) Apply Merlin’s sustainable “Inbox Zero” approach and henceforth live in email bliss. It really does work.