Struggling with Feeds & “In Box Zero” 3


I drove back to Indiana Wednesday night (yes, in our awful weather) to work on my Australia talks and get caught up with some outstanding writing. I’ve found I am super-productive in my home workspace!

On the drive back, as I often do, I got caught up on my favorite podcasts, including one I’d been meaning to listen to for a while: Merlin Mann’s “In Box Zero” Talk at Goggle from last year. I’m a fan of Mann’s take on productivity, mac use and technology. In the talk he discusses how he manages his email with some practices based on “getting Things Done” by David Allen. It’s rather fascinating how he hones in on how some of us “live in our inboxes.”

I realized while listening that I wanted to blog about this, and then yesterday I catch a tweet from Cliff Landis that he was “struggling with too many RSS feeds.” In a bit of synchronicity, Merlin Mann also discusses RSS feeds toward the end of the talk. The tips for dealing with clutter also carries to feeds and other work technologies.

His summary tips:

  • Do email less.
  • Schedule email dashes – once per hour.
  • Use filters to control email/RSS

His blog series on “In Box Zero” is here:

Checkout the video here:

How do TTW readers deal with email? With “too many feeds?”

Update: Are there too many social sites? 

3 thoughts on “Struggling with Feeds & “In Box Zero”

  • Cliff

    It’s a bit of a shock to open your (newly cleaned out!) news feed to find your eye-con staring back at you! I, too, am a huge fan of Inbox Zero, and have used the system since I watched the video. I now use Thunderbird’s tags to keep things searchable, rather than trying to put a single email into one of 50 folders in an impossible hierarchy! I can’t wait to see what your readers advise for NewFeed Overload…

  • Phil Bradley

    I blogged about this very thing a few months back, at

    My key elements were don’t try and stay on top, use RSS more, read headlines and stop, don’t download email, do it there and then, remember that out of date is out of use, technology doesn’t always work, mostly it doesn’ t matter, let others take responsibility for telling you things they want you to know – don’t go looking for it!

  • DerikB

    I’ve been using the Inbox Zero method for a few weeks now and its working out great in combination with a todo list manager (iGTD on the mac) and an information manager (Tinderbox on the mac).

    Managing the RSS is something I still need to figure out, but I’m thinking of moving to a grouping of folders by importance instead of by subject.

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