Today, I tried an experiment: I closed my email client.
I strive for Inbox Zero. If a message is actionable, I try act on it or set it up as actionable in a task tracker. If it's not actionable, I archive it or hit the delete key. I can stay on top of this and keep my inbox empty roughly 60% of the time.
One of the ways I've been able to get to inbox zero is by routing communication that's likely to be actionable through systems that are designed to manage actions. Any work/personal email that might require followthrough gets routed through Helpscout, a system designed for workflow and delegation. We've convinced our customers to send their most important communications through a project management system.
This helps, but it also means I'm checking lots of things in lots of places. It's exhausting, and checking for new messages often becomes an act of escapism from the exhaustion of having so much buzzing around. It's a silly cycle, I admit.
Today, I launched my mail client, deleted/prioritized about 70 messages, and then I closed it for the day. It takes much less time to do this en masse, and tomorrow I will do the same. One less place to check for "new", one less source of noise.