20 tech habits to improve your life

A few new habits can make the difference between staying on task, finding what you need, and getting things done--or having a tech meltdown.

5. Clear Out Your Inbox Every Day



Beat e-mail overload once and for all by emptying your inbox completely--and keeping it that way. The "Inbox Zero" philosophy says that e-mail messages are just calls to action--not clutter that we need to hang on to. Create three folders or labels in your e-mail client: Action, Later, and Archive. Each day when you check your e-mail, make a decision and do something with every new message you've received until you've moved them all out of your inbox and reduced your message count down to zero. Ruthlessly delete the messages you don't need, on the spot. Respond to the ones that will take under 2 minutes. File messages that you want to keep for future reference in the Archive folder, those that will take longer than 2 minutes to reply to in Action (and add those to-do items to your list), and messages you need to follow up on at a subsequent date (such as Amazon shipment notifications) in Later. Then breathe a sigh of relief when you see that glorious declaration: 'You have no new mail.'

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