I don’t Beemind my email, but I do have a system I use. Like Brent, I naturally gravitate toward inbox-zero; I hate having a cluttered inbox. So this is how I accomplish that (click on the image to see the whole list):
I have two top-level domains:
Active. The labels under
Inbox are an automatic categorization system for incoming emails:
– mails related to each of my active hobbies
– household mails from the kids’ school, online grocery service, etc
– newsletters from the news sites I read
– incoming translation requests from new clients
– active translation assignments
– mails from my writers’ group, writing forums, etc
These are all automatically populated based on filters I’ve set up. Anything not filtered into one of these comes into the inbox proper. I check
Inbox whenever something new comes in, and file it to its proper category. That might be one of the folders already mentioned (in which case I also update my filtering rules as needed), or it might be one of the three
– items I’ll need for my monthly report to my bookkeeper (invoices, etc)
– non-urgent items I need to do something about
– items I don’t need to do anything about, but still want to refer to (an order I’ve placed, until it arrives; an upcoming school activity for the kids; a reading suggestion someone sent me; …)
The only category that gets to ping me for my instant attention is Inbox . All the rest get my attention at specified times of my choosing. I’ll read my news-related emails in the morning when I wake up, frex, and my hobby-related emails when I’m working on that hobby.
At any given time,
Inbox will have one or two mails in it, which are mails I need to act on that have priority. I’ll see them every time I look in my inbox, which is several times a day. My experience there differs from Brent’s; rather than creating drag and resistance, it reminds me that I need to do them. I think this is because they’re there deliberately; repeated exposure to something I’ve consciously chosen to repeatedly expose myself to actually helps me work up to doing it.
So that’s my system.
 Because clients don’t always contact me through the QRY address – some have gotten my “real” address from an existing client, frex – and as a freelancer, I can’t afford to miss an assignment because I didn’t check my email.