Simplify Your Inbox: Digital Minimalism 01


Let’s talk about digital minimalism. This is actually a topic that gets me really excited( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). because look we live in a digital world I think that’s old news at this point. And I personally see digital spaces as an extension to our physical ones We spend what half of our time online on our computers on our phones just like minimalism in real life if you will I find that removing the distractions and streamlining processes. You can get so much more done. You can be so much more focused So today I’m starting a new series precisely on this topic. It’s really simple I’m going to walk you through my system system. I’ve got here starting with your email Okay, so the goal here is really simple We want to have the clearest least stressful experience possible in our inboxes in our email, right? What’s the least stressful we can make it? Well, what if there were no emails which I know sounds crazy, but bear with me Alright, welcome to my inbox as you can see here. There is no new emails. This is a concept known as inbox zero It’s a concept that was developed by a guy named Merlin Mann and I want to break down How I’m able to do this into two parts The first is the system that I use and the second is the tools that help me to be able to do this So let’s take a look. First of all at the sidebar as you can see There aren’t a lot of logos here a lot of icons here I’ve paired it down to only the things that I really need. This is really easily customizable in the settings Google lets you configure things. How you like So as you can see I have my inbox I have starred which I’m going to explain in a little bit sent drafts and in my folders Okay, I’ve boringly named it folders. You can call this whatever you want The way you create folders is by if you hit more and go down to the bottom creating a new label That’s Google’s way of saying folder You can create a folder and name it whatever you like and you can also nest folders within other folders So what I’ve done is create a single Top-level folder that contains everything else within it some people might think that’s a little excessive which is fair enough Pick and choose the info that you want to use and implement for yourself But I find that it’s a really great way to keep everything looking really nice and clean within folders are four major categories if you will Which I’ve separated first by numbers in the order that I want to see them and also by color Let me explain what these labels are It is my belief that no matter who you are because your life is obviously not going to look like mine But no matter who you are, you can probably divide your life into three or four major categories So for you it might be I don’t know school Career and personal so the way I sort of break things down is the Faneuil drew is my presence online The stuff that I do on YouTube, etc Work is stuff that I do as a freelancer as a filmmaker and photographer and how I make money Although I’m trying to transition that from this to this and then personal which is everything that doesn’t really fit into these two so it could be Emails with friends emails with family and finally archives Which is past Emails from previous years I break Nathaniel drew down into income and expenses, which I think is very important to track brand related emails and support which is emails with viewers and questions that I receive and in you know, Sometimes people will email me with encouragement and I love to keep all that in one place It’s very valuable to me same sort of concept for work I break it down into current projects and shoots personal is broken down into future travels and spiritual which is really funny Yeah Spiritually emails and finally if I open up archives, you will find the same three labels here that can take emails from past years so I recently just transitioned everything over as 2019 started as well as another folder which includes money related emails Always lives in the archives section One thing that I find very helpful is to color code everything within these top level folders as the same color So everything under Nathaniel Drew is blue for example, if I were to open up an email within one of these folders You will find that there’s a really convenient and helpful label up at the top here That shows me within which folder this email is stored as well as the color and you very quickly are able to so see Oh, yeah blue that has to do with YouTube and the stuff that I’m doing online And so if you’re one of those kinds of people I certainly find that Colors and visuals helped me to organize my thoughts and in my life in general again. I’m not too concerned about Breaking things down super specifically because your life is going to look different than mine But I have found that you don’t need a ton of sub labels and it’s really really important to be super specific you almost have to approach this as if you’re gonna be gone for an entire decade right stranded on a an island and you come back all of a sudden and you have to be able to Understand the structure you laid out for yourself You are not going to remember what emails were in vaguely named folders like random other Miscellaneous. Alright, so let’s talk about some of the tools that helped me be able to maintain a system like this First of all, is this convenient little feature starred? If you don’t see the star here You can easily configure that in the settings and I use this feature to remove Important emails that I can’t quite archive just yet into another folder that is in my inbox Alright, so the next tool is the just general archive button. So if I open up this email again, I believe this can be Configured in the settings this archive button. It’s basically it’s a way to Remove the email without trashing it so you still have it. It archives it into a general archive folder So you still have access to it? however You’re not going to find it in any of your folders and you’re not going to find it in your inbox For example, this is a really useful tool for emails that don’t easily fit into any particular category But you also don’t want to get rid of them and finally This is maybe a little bit obvious to some of you guys but it’s still a really powerful tool is The search bar the search bar is the only reason I feel comfortable Archiving all of my emails in the way that I do because it’s such an effective Tool that I use to be able to find any emails that I need you can use it to search words that were in the email that you’re looking for the subject line the email address the name of The person you are emailing it’s a great way to find anything that you need and it has always worked whenever I’ve needed it So I just want to talk a little bit now about habits and how you can make this happen Obviously can be really overwhelming. I’ve seen some people’s emails and it’s just chaos eight thousand twelve thousand emails That’s not a good environment to be clear and concise. First of all, I would say Start by going straight to the source. So if you can put a little bit of time every day towards unsubscribing to Newsletters and other promotions and stuff like that that you don’t need or want Over time you will see that you will be receiving a lot less email in your inbox and I do this all the time I just unsubscribe from the mailing list for Uber eats but in Spanish like I don’t even know why I had those emails. There you go. I found it It leave me nice to cookies young Perfect updated Clear that yep. So unsubscribing is the first thing the second is Maintaining this doesn’t really actually take a lot of time I find that a few minutes in the morning and then a few minutes in the afternoon or evening is enough to Really keep things super clean and once you get into the rhythm of doing that it can actually get a lot easier to stay on Top of things. It’s also probably not a great idea to be on your email all day long Anyway, so I find that this helps me to Do what I need to get done and spend less time in my email. All right I hope that that was helpful to you Like I said doing this sort of thing really felt like it had a positive impact on my clarity and focus So I’d love to hear if you guys implement this at all how it goes for you if you’re interested in seeing more content like this keep your eyes peeled because like I said, this is part one in a series that I’ll be releasing over the next few weeks and There’s actually already an episode available exclusively on my patreon Which is a great way to support me and to help me create more videos like this so there’s a link down below go check it out if that interests you otherwise subscribe so that you are notified when the other episodes in this series come out and finally I just had to mention this I do have a newsletter So if you’re looking for ways to fill up in box with the right kind of stuff There’s a link to that down below as well. Alright, that is enough for me. I’ll see you soon

100 thoughts on “Simplify Your Inbox: Digital Minimalism 01

  1. I would like sooo much to better organise my inbox but the client mail I have to use at work sucks. Really sucks.

  2. im watching this while im suppose to be working, with 26 tabs on my chrome browser. my inbox just says 999+…i neeed heeeelllpppppp lol

  3. I've been trying to fix my Inbox and stuff and this video came as recommended in my YT feed, and I'm SO THANKFUL TO YOU! I'm going to simplify my Inbox right now.

  4. How do you make the emails that are assigned to a label/folder disappear from the inbox? Mine all still show up all together in the inbox…

  5. Every email in my inbox represents an unmade decision (to reply, to delete, to use a coupon, etc.). It helps to remind myself that the more emails I get rid of (and the more things I unsubscribe from), the fewer tiny decisions I'll have weighing me down.

  6. Hooo boy, you'd hate to see my email situation. 4 addresses, (Personal, Job Search, other, other 2) They all get notifications frequently. This is one of the reasons 90% of my push notifications are disabled on my phone.

  7. THANK YOU !!! This was perfect timing as i just switched to Gmail so i can set up all my folders from the GET GO. This is awesome!!!

  8. I can’t believe you are only 21! You’re so damn mature for a guy your age. The girl who will end up with you, is going to be very lucky!

  9. i am kind of obsessed with having a clean inbox. i always have my inbox super clean and pristine.

  10. Greaaaaat video!

    I’m curious what drove you to go with the huawei matebook paired with your Apple stuff, rather than MacBook?

  11. Great content as always, Nathaniel. I really love your glasses on you. I don't suppose you'd mind sharing which brand/model they are please? Totally cool if you'd prefer not to.

  12. Man this is a great ideas to deal with email.` Long ago I used to use “Mail Box” email client but since Microsoft buy them in I stop using it and still figuring out how to make inbox clean. Keep it up like this man. I like your channel. 👍🏼
    By the way I just made some of video on my channel. I’m newbie in this and need advice from you about my video. Please check it out if you have some times. – Regards / Tun

  13. being stranded on an island and coming back? WAS THAT A GREEN ARROW REFERENCE? I love your videos, you are a huge motivation for me but i love even more your arrow references!!

  14. Thanks for the good content. I have found them helpful myself. I wanted to know if everything you do affects your creativity, expressiveness or authenticity as an individual?

  15. After watched Matt D'avella and you were come in my suggested video.. such an inspiring person. keep it up dude

  16. Hey I come back to your video twice. want to ask you this. Is it possible to do the same thing on email app on iphone?

  17. started to do this in my mail account, already felt better to see everything organized and more clean. thanks Nathaniel!

  18. Why such a good content like this always got so little attention? I'm wondering what people seek on youtube

  19. I've been meaning to take action on this for such a long time. Thanks to your video you gave me the boot to an urge that has been building up… to take action and go through 7K+ emails. I am happy to say that number has decreased by 1K since yesterday! I was also inspired not to get up to 10K emails after seeing the inbox of someone I work with OVER 100K emails! I cannot imagine! That was crazy making (I don't know how she deals with that). I will deal with my secondary personal inbox after my main one but this weekend I've made progress in sorting out, unsubscribing from, and minimizing emails I receive. I recently read an article on Linkedin about how digital technology began as tools to be used but ever too quickly humanity became tools that digital tech uses and runs with. The sooner we can flip this around the sooner we'll find peace of mind/body and balance between work and personal life again.

  20. I already separated and organised everything in folders, but my imbox (the section "Everything Else") still full of emails, but listed by date but with these coloured rectangle. How you do to make your Inbox section clean of emails but still having it in your Folders?

  21. Nathan me super sirvió amigo ! te mando un abrazo grande desde Arg…. tierra en la q estuviste, Rosario específicamente, saludos !

  22. I just started watching your channel after Youtube suggested your Meditating 1 hour a day video. I clicked on this digital minimalism video mostly to compare what you've done to simplify your inbox and see how it can fit/improve the current system I'm using. And I've to say, it's been an interesting watch. 🙂

    I recently set up pretty detailed email system for my work email after reading "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity" by David Allen, and I've been loving it. I clean out my inbox by moving all the items into folders like "03_Next Actions" and "04_Waiting for" and "05_References", while emails that have been complete or does not require action go into more detailed folders (similar to how you've organised your mail "Folders"). There's similarities in how you've set up your email system (like numbering everything so it shows up in order), and it's nice to see what also works for different people.

    On another note, while I have done the overhaul for my work email, watching this has made me wonder why I've not done a simplified system for my personal emails (8000+ unread mail!)…

    (Also, I love how your videos are soothing and really high quality, though that's mostly a bonus because your content itself is alreadt great :D)

  23. Great video, I run a similar setup but have more specific subfolders associated to my company that I run – like legal, accounts, financial, marketing etc. Is it me, or are you using a widget on top of your desktop? Looks like it, or it could be a smart matching of desktop theme to gmail 🙂

  24. Hey Man you are awesome! The choice of contents is great by you. This is a simple thing topic but not explored by many. Kudos to you man!

  25. I used to be one of those people that used to be really organized about their inbox, but then I started uni and that went to shit. This video really helped me reorganize my inbox and I feel so much better about it now. Thank you so much

  26. Digital detox gaining popularity.Here’s top 15 ideas how to reduce stress from online life:
    1)Reduce social media time to minimum (use settings for time limit per day)
    2)Unfollow celebrities accounts.You don’t need to know what celebrity dog had for lunch.Better concentrate on your own life and make it memorable
    3)Unfollow people who irritate you
    4)Block unnecessary notifications (yes, you can live with only a few notifications per day!)
    5)Delete unnecessary SMS&block spam numbers
    6)Clean your e-mail box
    7)Unsubscribe from spam&promotion letters
    8)Delete unneeded photos, cut videos to perfect size, deleted outdated documents
    9)Delete games and download language learning app
    10)Listen to podcast and audiobook
    11)Schedule work related calls one by one and dedicate only required number of minutes. Don’t let people call you when they want
    12)Use no disturbing mood or airplane mode while exercise
    13)No disturb mood while studying
    14)Install app which will track how much time on phone
    15)Use calendar to plan your time
    There’s no need to quit your phone time but think on what you should spend it.Prioritize what gives you income,education,personal happiness.

    https://my-financial-wealth.com/2019/08/04/top-15-easy-ways-for-digital-detox/

  27. Quenstions tho: A) Do you have the labeling automated or do it manually? B) Is there only one email account or do you funnel everything into one master account?

  28. I've labelled all of the emails in my inbox but even with the labels they still appear in my primary inbox. Does anyone know how to change this?

  29. I totally appreciate you doing this as it’s a massive struggle for almost everyone online. I also agree on search being vital. However, labeling and categorizing emails (which I stopped doing) sort of makes me think along these lines: Isn’t this, in 2019, the equivalent to giving tips for how to organize all your unanswered Slack posts? To me, email is radio chatter – just like Slack is. I’m always listening in but only replying to a fraction of what comes in. Personally, I prefer starring things that I absolutely need to come back to. The rest can just be bulk archived. Gets you to inbox zero very very fast 🙂

  30. Damn, I've been watching your videos at 1.25x playback speed accidentally and now I can't go back to normal… I swear it is slowed down ahaha anyways though awesome video and I love the digital minimalism series, thanks for the great content 🙂

  31. I have heard about this concept for my email, a client explained it to me… I felt terrified. This walkthrough was great though! My previous system was horrible and chaotic. I made the switch today, seeing that empty screen feels so amazing!!!

  32. I love this serie. I was getting lost on my organization and your serie in minimalism is all I need 🙂 love be with you

  33. thank you SO SO much, i have 3 gmail accounts, 2 hotmail, 1 icloud, 1 outlook, did this for 3 out of my 7 accounts and i feel SO light now
    i had 10k emails, i just used the search bar for those subscriptions emails and newsletters and spent some hours but soooo worth it!

    ps – in office 365 / outlook / hotmail its harder to do this, gmail is so much better

  34. That's a great idea since now my email is so clean and it gives me the motivation to actually look at what is new and what is not, the folders were something I never knew about, thank you so much!

  35. I discovered your channel this week and I love it. It's amazing!!! I'm brazilian girl and I'm learning english and Youtube recommend your channel. I saw someone videos has subtitles in portuguese but I'm trying understand some thing. Sorry for my english, I writed without dictionary for training. OK?
    PS: Do you know portuguese too?

  36. I did this when I was your age. Then I found out that I had a life. 🙂

    And google have a great search mechanism…. 🙂

  37. After watching this video i popped over to my mailbox. I don't receive much "junk" och e-mails that necessarily feel like clutter but oh boy there are some old emails in there. Spent the next 20 min going through and deleting so much useless crap, such as order confirmations of a book I bought in 2011. I have by now read it several times, eventually felt it was taking up too much space and given it away to charity by now! Yay for digital decluttering as well as physical!

  38. The best thing I have ever done is: I created a second email adress for everything 'unimportant'. Everytime a website asks for a email adress, be it to create an account, receive a newsletter or get a free ebook, I give them my second email adress. That email account is an absolute mess – but I never look at it. So all the newsletters just end up there and don't bother me when opening my 'real' mails.

  39. Hey Nathan! I’m Brazilian and I’m learning English more than 5 years and thanks God I can understand your video haha!
    I’m here to say this video helped me so much. Only seeing my inbox clean is a great thing and brings me peace hahaa
    So, God bless you! I know I’ll come back more times.
    Wish you have sucess! 🙂

  40. Can you please tell if you use only 1 email id for all of your stuff or different ones and if the latter then how should one go about it, i.e which catergories should have different email ids.

  41. You should check out the P.A.R.A method from Tiago Forte. He has a whole philosophy for digital organization called "Second Brain"

  42. You're content is awesome. I continue to improve my life with your videos, creating better habits and learning more about myself. Keep it up!

  43. Hay Nathaniel
    I really enjoy your videos since I also want to make my life easier and find mental clarity 😀
    I have one question left regarding simplifying my inbox… What do you do with emails from amazon for example which confirm your order etc. I find it cumbersome to put each and every mail from amazon, apple, google etc in to a spezific label/folder. Do you delete them?

  44. Thanks a lot for the video Nathaniel! Personally I always try to keep my inbox at 0, but it can be quite a challenge ;). Since this resembles a project we're working on for digital minimalism quite a lot, I couldn't resist the urge to share it here :). We're trying to tackle the problem of all the distractions around us being there all the time, specifically from our smartphones. If you'd like you can find more information here: https://www.unplug.technology/.
    We're hoping to help as many people as possible and are launching on Kickstarter on the 18th of February 🙂

  45. I am not spending time on social media almost fully. I can use it for few messages in a week or so. But YouTube is taking all of it. And I will feel myself quit lonely without it. It sounds good to be productive, but it is also taking me to extreme…

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