Nowadays, Emails have become an essential communication tool for us to connect with people and communicate important business deals, messages, and official letters. Sometimes we spend hours managing emails and sorting out unwanted emails in our Inbox. Read this blog further to know about Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero method and some of the top quotes of Merlin Mann on Inbox Zero. 

A podcaster called Merlin Mann introduced a concept called Inbox Zero to manage emails efficiently.  Managing emails has become a time-consuming job! It is estimated that an average office worker receives 121 emails per day! Inbox zero Merlin Mann aimed at making people spend less or no time working inboxes.  

What is Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero?

Merlin Mann Inbox Zero

Merlin Mann is an American writer, blogger,  podcaster, and productivity expert. He is well known for his email management approach called ‘Inbox Zero.’ He is also the creator of a popular website called Through this website, Merlin Mann helps his readers find their time and Attention to explore and work on their creative works.  

Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero approach is an effective email management solution. Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero aids us in keeping our Inboxes empty or almost free from unread and unwanted emails. Merlin Mann popularized this ‘Inbox Zero’ in his series of articles for his blog 43 Folder. In Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero, the term “zero” in the “Inbox Zero Method” doesn’t imply the total number of messages in the Inbox.

It points out the less or zero amount of time we will spend on using and reading the messages in the Inbox. Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero Method attempts to make people stop stressing and spending a lot of time on emails. 

Inbox Zero Merlin Mann’s Top Quotes 

  1. “Make the time to be scared of more interesting things” ~ Merlin Mann

This was the theme statement that Merlin Mann stated on Inbox Zero. He has recorded in his blog, Kung Fu Grippe. This theme statement shows us the true essence of why Inbox Zero of Merlin Mann was created. Whenever we open the Inbox of our email, the highlighted subjects of many unread emails make us hesitate and dread about opening our emails to compose new messages. 

And this particular quoted statement of Merlin Mann gives us the message that we should stop being scared of silly things in life like opening an email due to an overflowing inbox. Merlin Mann encourages us to start being scared and making time for more adventurous and exciting things in life. In a way, Merlin Mann motivates us to use the Inbox Zero approach and declutter and manage emails effectively.

  1. “Where you decide to put your time and Attention says a lot about who you are as a human being “~ Merlin Mann

In a Google Tech Talk on Inbox Zero, Merlin Mann quotes this statement to bring out the significance of setting priorities in life. When we learn to manage inboxes and our actions, we can easily map our life around essential things and spend less time on emails. If we don’t have a good relationship with our emails or good email management skills, our time will be ‘burgled’ from us. Time and Attention are the only natural resources that we have, and they are finite and irreplaceable. 

By stating this quote, Merlin Mann implies, we can’t bring back the time and attention span we have wasted on checking emails of our Inbox. Some people are checking emails constantly that they are “practically living inside their inbox.” 

While scrolling through their Inbox, some people start thinking and, in this process, their Inbox becomes a to-do list manager and even a calendar. This is not an excellent way to manage emails. Merlin asks us to stop multitasking and to utilize time wisely. 

  1. “Anything that doesn’t have a place in your life and never will, get rid of it” ~ Merlin Mann

Merlin Mann records this statement in the same Google Tech Talk on Inbox Zero. Just checking piles of unread emails isn’t enough, and it’s not a good email management technique. Checking emails is not the same as processing emails. Here Merlin brings out the difference between ‘Checking’ and ‘Processing.’ According to Merlin Mann, ‘Processing emails’ is reviewing each piece of the email and at the same time mentally pre-deciding where and what to do about this email. 

Merlin advises us to ask this question to ourselves, “What action do I have to take as a result of reading this email?”. This is an easy way to enhance mailbox management. Take the necessary actions and quickly finish off your email once and for all. This quote implies that we should not cling to these emails anxiously. 

Merlin Mann suggests some steps to process emails and reach for Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero quickly are 

  • Delegate- Forward emails to people who are more efficient in dealing with the subject.
  • Flag – Save or star essential emails in a folder
  • Delete or Archive – Delete or archive unwanted emails
  • Respond quickly and right now.
  • Defer – Postpone emails that you think needs more time to respond
  • Do -Create a folder for to do-task emails
  1. “Do Email less” ~ Merlin Man

Merlin Mann quoted this statement to bring out the significance of taking a break from our emails. This is another one of Merlin Mann’s Zero Inbox approaches. He asks us to take a break and stop checking email notifications for a while. We need to turn off all email applications to ‘email less’. In this ‘no email’ period, we can let our Inbox accumulate emails. 

Suppose we are not in a position to stop seeing email notifications. Then Merlin says that we can check email notifications on an hourly basis. We can schedule a time slot, for example, three times a day to check all the email notifications. You can use some email management apps like Mailman, ProtonMail, etc., to manage emails effectively. 

Gradually, we will become better at email management and also increase productivity in our work.

  1. “Before you get good, you need first to stop sucking” ~ Merlin Mann

Merlin Mann quoted this statement to ask everyone to start afresh in managing the Inbox. Suppose if we haven’t checked our emails for the past six months and now, we have decided not to procrastinate the email reading anymore. 

Instead of processing the accumulated piles of emails in one go, create a folder. Merlin Mann asks us to name the folder ‘Inbox DMZ’. In this folder, move all the unread emails you have piled up for the past 6 months from the Inbox. Then, the first thing that you will notice is a clean Inbox. 

From then on, take a resolution to respond to emails quickly and don’t pile them up again. Later, you can process the unread emails in the DMZ folder, one by one, every day. 

This is another good email management technique that Merlin Mann suggests on Inbox Zero. This step clearly illustrates the above quote – To start afresh, you need to stop sucking about the old things that you have accumulated in life.


Inbox Zero is one of the most popularly sought-after approaches for managing emails of an overflowing Inbox. Merlin Mann’s quotes on ‘Inbox Zero’ are very apt, and they clearly explain to us the importance of Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero approach for effective email management. These quotes instruct us to manage time and be productive. They motivate us to set the right priorities and delete all the unwanted junk from our lives.