Summary of Yesterbox

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8 Overall

10 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Unread emails stressed Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos. He was using his inbox as to-do list and was frustrated that he never managed to get through it because new emails continued to arrive. To transform this “never-ending treadmill” of emails to something manageable, he developed a simple method which he calls the “Yesterbox.” The idea is simple: Hsieh doesn’t respond to incoming emails right away but, instead, uses the previous day’s inbox as today’s task list. In this blog post, he explains his method in detail. getAbstract recommends his blog post to those struggling to stay on top of their emails. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to deal with emails using the “Yesterbox” approach and 
  • Why Zappos's CEO Tony Hsieh developed it. 

About the Author

Tony Hsieh is an American Internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the CEO of the online retailer Zappos.



Online retailer Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was using his inbox as his task list, but he noticed that his approach was stressful: He never felt he had finished his work, because as he was responding to his emails, more were arriving. He realized that his method led him to pass over important emails that would take longer to process. He came up with a new idea for handling his emails: The “Yesterbox” approach for email management requires you to view the previous day’s inbox as the current day’s “to-do list.” As you go through yesterday’s emails, you clear your inbox for the day, which gives you a sense of accomplishment. 

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    joy wang 2 years ago
    #30DaysOfSummaries Actually I didn't quite get it...
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    DINESH HS 2 years ago
    The idea is interesting ....does need a lot of mental discipline to be able to persist with the rules set ... I think urgent emails may need an immediate response -eg,a customer complaint or an aggrieved employee issue or a legal issue. I guess effectiveness is about focus ,discipline and persistence.Additionally,regularly analysing emails to understand why they came and what would the patterns suggest -may help to deal with emails more ,if customers are writing with issues -is a process needing to be relooked ....Overall ,like the idea of yesterbox
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    Ashish Agarwal 2 years ago
    I believe any good manager should/ would have some process to attend to the messages coming their way.

    I'd be also be very interested to learn if a CEO of an up and coming/ successful business actually responds/ adequately attends to every single email coming into their inbox or not, and if so what is the average throughput?

    Somewhat relates to my 'watchdog' comment from week 2 and CEOs role and authority as a watchdog of the business's mission, values etc.