Get to Inbox Zero with Trello

The inbox is a terrible way to store information and manage projects. When you receive an email, one of three things should happen:

  • Respond to it
  • Delete it
  • Schedule it

If you do these three things, you will achieve “inbox zero”.

Inbox zero is possible and I know because I’ve experienced it with the help of Trello. It was the realization that most things in my inbox were either projects or tasks as part of projects. I no longer kept emails just in case I needed to reference them or as a reminder of what I needed to complete. Now it’s simple, when an email comes in, it either gets assigned if there is an action item or filed away if it is just a ‘need to know’ type of item.


Straight from the Trello blog comes this gem – Only Handle It Once. This means that your aren’t going back and forth between emails anymore. Using Trello means that most of this information will live on their platform instead.

How it Works

There are several ways to make Trello part of your email management workflow. I will show you how to do this using Add-ons, using services like IFTTT, and by emailing a card in Trello.

Email Client Add-ons

It is optimal if you are able to use add-ons with your email client. In Gmail, click on the the “+” on the right sidebar called “Get Add-ons”. This is the store where you can get the Trello add-on. Once added and verify your credentials, you’re ready to start assigning emails to your lists in Trello.


Open an email that you want to add to Trello. With the email open, click on the Trello icon on the right hand side. This will allow you to choose the board and the list that you want to add the card to. Then you just need to choose a title for your card, a description and a due date (if you want). Then click add and it will appear on Trello and you can delete that email.


The only difference with the app is that the Trello button is at the very bottom of an email Once you click on that, everything will be the same from the step above.

IFTTT Recipe

We can also do this with an IFTTT applet. It requires a little bit more work but is still fairly simple.

IFTTT Applet

Click New Applet in IFTTT and choose Gmail as the trigger. Use the “New email in inbox labeled” as the specific trigger and type in “Trello” in the label field. Click create trigger and on the action service choose Trello. There is only one option for create a card. Choose the board and the list you want to add new cards to. As you can see there are many ingredients you can use to extract data from the email to automatically add to Trello and you can even assign other members automatically. Click create action and finish and now every time you add a label of “Trello” to and email, it will automatically add it to Trello.


This is the most archaic way to do it – but if your company uses outlook and they block plugins – this will be your only option and it still works pretty well. First, you must go to the board you want to add emails to in Trello and click the “show menu” link in the upper right and then click the “More” button and the Email-to-board settings. This will provide you with an email address you can use any time you want to send Trello information from an email. You can decide which list you want it added to and if f you want it if you want it at the top or bottom.



Now you have a clean inbox and a documented list of the projects you need to be working on… and you have achieved inbox zero.

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