I practice Inbox Zero, or as close as I can get to it. My inbox is a to-do list: if it’s not in front of me, I forget about it until two weeks after the task was meant to be done and someone asks me if I ever did that meaningless…oops, I meant very meaningful, task.
Thanks to Gmail’s archive feature (my main email) and Yahoo’s folders (my email for newsletters and other items that I don’t want to go to my main inbox), both of my inboxes went from over six hundred messages each to ten over the summer. Then came the supposed death of my alma mater’s email server. Gmail has fetched the mail from that account for the length of the two accounts’ coexistence, and as a result, I’ve archived all the messages of possible importance.
Then the IT department recovered the email, much to relief of the students who didn’t learn the value of backing up their important stuff. This meant that as mail reappeared in my school email, Gmail was also fetching it. Gmail doesn’t care about duplicates.
As a result, I currently have thirty-seven unread messages. None of these are of overbearing importance. Heck, all of them are at least four months old, and I’ve read all of them at least once anyway. The problem is that I already have a copy of some of them; the question is which ones. A long trawl through my All Mail section should tell me. Just let me finish pruning my inbox proper first.