The name for all of this... stuff is now "bacn". Think of it as a form of spam, but spam that is residual, somewhat necessary and completely the result of you (read: ME) signing up for one (dozen) too many online services/cool things/time sinks. Rarely is any of it time sensitive. In fact, it's probably cluttering up your inbox and keeping you from getting to that elusive and fleeting ZERO.
So get rid of it. At least, get rid of it from showing in your inbox. Here's how.
If you use Gmail, follow these directions to the letter. If you use something else, figure out the spirit of what I'm saying and modify it to you own system's ability to "filter".
First, go to your overflowing inbox and identify your biggest source of bacn emails. Mine was Facebook, though Good Reads and Digg were coming in a close second. Click the email.
Next to the "Delete" button near the top, you'll see a pull down with the words "More Actions" displayed. Pull that down and choose "Filter messages like these". Gmail is smart enough to fill out some basic information that you may want to filter agains. Take a look to make sure it's got the correct info to recognize bacn versus legit email. You'll notice the list of "captured" mails based on your filter below.
Click Next Step to really get the magic working -- and to keep this crap from flooding your inbox. Select the following check boxes:
- Skip the inbox (you're so going to like this)
Apply the label "bacn"
- Yes, you'll have to create a new lable for this. You know how.
Also apply filter to ## conversations. (That'll make it work right now.)
I don't recommend marking it read, as leaving it unread allows the Bacn folder to cause a count of unread messages to display, helping you figure out when to go back and check before it asplodes.
Some people like to Star certain forms of Bacn, depending on the service. Your mileage may vary, but I'd leave it off.
Now hit Create Filter and watch your inbox shrink. Rinse and repeat as necessary to get your box in a manageable form. And don't feel compelled to clean this box out daily. I get to it about once a month. Yes, that means I often have over 400 pieces of bacn in there. So what? By definition, this stuff isn't time sensitive.
Give it a shot. Save you some time. And help with your sanity.