Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.
Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.
But it’s not about that. Not at all.
Here’s what it actually is, as defined by Mann:
“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your attention, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many messages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann
Source: Mike Vardy
So I’m doing an unofficial inbox zero but at this juncture, I’m okay with it. So? I have emails saved in various folders as an archive. So? I’m more at peace even with an unofficial inbox zero. I’m keeping a lot of garbage emails at bay… you know the “thanks!” response emails. Don’t get me wrong, I like thanks but delete those suckers!
And technically, I may have dish pan zero but the drying rack is full and the cabinets can’t even fit all of our dishes. But it’s mo’ better than stacks of unwashed dishes. White washing is better than no washing at all… at least dishes.