Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you've tried a bunch of different strategies to get your inbox under control with no success, it might be better to start with a clean slate.
Picture: Keevan Clancy/Flickr
There are tons of great methods out there for reducing the size of your inbox, but sometimes achieving "inbox zero" isn't worth the all of the effort it would take. If you feel like you're down to your last wit, it's time to go nuclear. Michael McWatter, a user experience architect, suggests you delete all of your messages in one powerful strike:
If you've got the guts: delete everything in your inbox right now. Next, send a generic email to anyone in your address book you deem important — bcc'ing the group, of course! — saying, "Hey, I just had some email issues. If you're waiting for a response from me on anything important, please let me know." If this seems too drastic, just delete anything over a month old and sort through the rest.
It might seem unthinkable to you, but it can get you to a better place where other strategies might actually become more effective. With all the old stuff gone, you can manage things better as new emails come in. The key is to send out that "email issue" message to everyone that needs something from you. It won't be easy to watch it all disappear, but everybody needs a fresh start every once in a while.
10 Steps to Tame Your Email Inbox and Keep Chaos at Bay [TED Blog via Inc]