A Marie Kondo-Inspired System, But for the Hellscape of Your Inbox

Kelli María Korducki
2 min readNov 1, 2021
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

This probably won’t mean anything to a lot of you, but I set up my primary email account way back when Gmail was still in beta. You needed an invitation. For Gmail! That’s my roundabout way of explaining why I have 4,479 unread emails in my personal inbox. And why, until very recently, I had like 30,000 more. (We don’t need to talk about my other two accounts.)

Now, I don’t particularly care about getting to inbox zero. But I would like to feel less active terror, guilt, shame and so forth around all manner of digital correspondence. What I would like, really, is a system. One like Charlotte Bismuth’s.

Charlotte — a former assistant DA of Manhattan, current mom of school-aged kids, recent author of this book right here, and ongoing font of wisdom and humor—devised a brilliant approach to email management that I’m absolutely going to steal.

In a post published on Forge, she explains:

As soon as I receive a message, I decide whether or not it matters. It’s sort of a Marie Kondo “does it spark joy” moment, except it’s more like “does it spark responsibility?” If my better self knows that I need to do something about a message, it gets a star. If not… well… it doesn’t. The messages with stars get handled.

Charlotte details her approach for dealing with the starred messages, and how she decides when an email chain needs to be taken offline. I’m not going to copy-paste the whole thing because you should just go read the post for yourself but seriously, go read the post for yourself.

Find it here:

Kelli María Korducki

Writer, editor. This is where I post about ideas, strategies, and the joys of making an NYC-viable living as a self-employed creative.