I have 10k unread emails in my inbox & I couldn't be less stressed or anxious about it.
I was a strict inbox-zero girl for over 10 years until a conversation with a friend made me completely abandon it. One day I looked at his phone and saw 500 unread messages. So I asked the inevitable question.
He explained if he read the message on the lock screen & didn't need to reply why would he waste his time going and marketing it as read. He simply had better things to do with his time than clear red notifications.
So now I take the same mindset with my email inbox. Rather than stress over unread email counts, I deal with what I need to and leave the rest unread. Here's how it works:
Tell people you're rubbish at email. On my website contact page I clearly state I don't do email and give people alternate options for ways to contact me to get a quicker response. It works fantastically.
Turn the badges off. No one needs those judgy red labels. Turn them off. Now.
Stop sending email. It's simple. The less email you send the less you receive.
Scan & Deal With It Immediately. I scan emails once a day and deal with anything I can on the spot. If it's something that will take longer or I need to do later I add it to my task list.
People ask me why I don't use fancy tools or AI bots to sort everything out. The truth is I don't care enough. I could find 100 better things to do with my day than dealing with email. So I spend minimal time on it and go and do those other 100 things.