Step 5: Empty your inbox every time you view it
This is the step that makes people nervous, but it needs to be done to truly detoxify your inbox. "It's like telling your kids to put all their toys away at the end of the day," Egan said.
Leaving e-mails you have already read in your inbox is just as counterproductive as leaving old mail in the box at the end of your driveway. Emptying does not mean handling every item immediately; it means sorting, deleting, responding, and moving items to the appropriate places that allow you to better manage your work.