I enjoyed a two-week vacation. This morning, back at work, I had a full Inbox waiting for me. 912 new emails to be exact. And I left with an empty Inbox. I had a meeting outside the office today so I could only work for 3-4 hours on my Inbox today. But I have it pretty much cleaned out. Not back to zero yet but that will happen tomorrow! These are the steps I took. I use Outlook as my Emailclient. If you use any other client, I think you can use most of it as well. # Don’t disable the Out Of Office assistant. This will give you some more breathingspace and an overall relaxed feeling that you’re still not really in the office yet; # Order your emails on Sender. Start with “A” and just go down the list and delete all emails from sender’s you don’t know. This is basically to weed out the spam. Plus you’ll see some names pop up a lot more (for instance a client waiting on something) so you’ll already know you’re up for some discussion; # Order them on Date and delete old newsletters and mailinglist-digests etc.; # Now you can order your Inbox on Subject and decide if you can delete some discussionthreads that are going on with you in the (B)CC-list. I deleted a lot of those because most of the time, the whole discussion is repeated under the answers. So you can view the whole thread within one email; # I use the “order on Subject” to answer some emails that require a short reply. Nothing that requires some real hard thinking, but just some basic replies like “I didn’t get the fax” or “yes, I will be there at 11”; # Now, order your Inbox on Messagetype. This will give you all your outstanding meetingrequests in one list. You can do them all at once, but more important, you’ll see updated meetingrequests in one view. So you will (again) only have to answer to the latest version and delete older versions; # After that step, you will probably have the more important messages in your Inbox. The ones that need more attention, focused reading or well…a Next Action. So decide what that NA is and act accordingly; # Now turn off your Out of Office assistant and grab some coffee. You’ve earned it! I hope this will help you get rid of a the first clutter of emails after you’ve been away for some time. If you have any additions, a better order, or your own system, please let me know in the comments. I am always looking for ways to tweak these little lifehackers!