Simplicity, structure, and useful habits keep unimportant things from distracting you and allow you to focus on what you want, which makes life fun and rewarding. They give you mental freedom.
When I met David Allen he described how the structure of his processes in his book Getting Things Done create freedom, not just make you more productive. I follow them with my adjustments that I wrote up here, and recommend them.
I don’t try to keep my inbox empty because I sometimes have emails that take a while to respond to. I do clean off my desk every night, though. I try to keep it to around five at most. Sometimes the last one or two are hard to get rid of before another long-term one appears. But as of now, my inbox is empty and I like the feeling of freedom it gives me.
I don’t know how long it will last. Teaching dozens of students during a semester makes it hard, but I hope to keep it empty for the summer.
Good luck with yours!
EDIT: My next empty inbox came September 27, three months later.
EDIT: My next: October 17
EDIT: My next: January 22, 2016
EDIT: Another on July 4, 2019, my first in 2.5 years?
EDIT: Another on March 10, 2020
EDIT: Another on June 19, 2020
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees