Here’s why you should stop trying to clear your email inbox, aka, the never-ending struggle

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Who else enjoyed checking the mailbox as a kid? If we only knew years later we’d absolutely hate our overflowing email inboxes, our enthusiasm for mail would’ve been nonexistent. That said, if you devote hours to spring cleaning your inbox, maybe give it a rest because clearing your email inbox is apparently a huge friggin’ waste of time.

We know — you’re probably thinking, Ah! But it feels sooo productive. Sure, deleting a ton of misdirected messages, that batch of ancient work emails and all those expired birthday coupons you forgot to use feels like a huge weight’s been lifted, but author Laura Vanderkam saysthat devoting time to emptying your inbox is basically pointless.


She’s written a couple of time management and productivity books, so we trust Vanderkam knows of what she speaks. In her book, I Know How She Does It, which explores how successful women maximize their time, she writes:

"[Y]ou will never reach the bottom of your inbox. Better to realize that anything you haven't gotten to after a week or so will have either gone away or been thrust back upon you by follow-up messages or calls. You can probably stop thinking about it. Earth will not crash into the sun."


So, like is it even possible to just stahp it already with cleaning your inbox? Will there be inbox-cleaning withdrawals? Is there some sort of recovery program we should look into?

Clearly, we’re not quite ready to accept this advice but we’ll definitely give it some thought (after we scour our inbox one last time).