Wednesday, June 17, 2020

True Confessions Wednesday: Inbox Zero is a Myth

True Confession #31: I cannot imagine that I will ever get to inbox zero.

Lately, I've been working on reducing the embarrassingly high number of emails in my inboxes at work and at home. I've also been working on being more intentional in my consumption of the news and in my use of social media, as both have a tendency to impact my mood and, therefore, my actions.

The other day, as I was working, emails were coming in, as they usually do. I've gotten pretty good at glancing quickly at the sender and then getting back to work, often deleting the incoming mail before it hits my inbox.

On that particular day, though, I became more aware of my reaction to the incoming mail. I caught myself making a face when a newsletter I'd subscribed to quite some time ago came across the screen.

Clearly, I was never going to read that newsletter -- or the rest of the collection taking up space in my inbox -- but instead of that being problematic, it sparked a plan.

First of all, I did a search for all those newsletters (Wow! More than 50!), unsubscribed, and deleted them. Very freeing.

Then, I decided that might be the foundation of a plan that could help not only my inbox, but my mood as well. I get tons of junk in my inbox, and most of it registers as neutral or nuisance. How much was that affecting me? And why should I be letting anything into my inbox on a regular basis if it doesn't make me smile when I see it there?

So, I decided that any time I got an email that triggered a negative reaction, I would take immediate action. If I could, I'd stop what I was doing, unsubscribe, and delete the whole lot. If I couldn't stop, I'd jot down the name of the sender and go through that process later, when I did my nightly inbox purge.

For me, keeping up with virtual clutter is even harder than keeping up with actual clutter. When it comes to tangible possessions, I'm picky about what comes into my home in the first place (and I derive satisfaction when I send it out again when it ceases to be useful), but email is sneakier, arriving whether or not I'm at my computer and even when I'm asleep. Not only that but, when it comes to information, I'm all I love stuff all the time. I have a lifetime supply of books I want to read, and my current situation with emails is just as bad -- worse, actually. Because emails don't take up physical space, I don't truly see them and so they accumulate in a way I'd never allow with physical clutter.

But I'm putting STYLE to work on my inbox.

  • I'm starting with successes, and this plan is one of them.
  • I'm taking a small step, 
  • finding homes for the keepers (yes, they have one)
  • slowly letting the rest go, 
  • and unsubscribing to make easy upkeep a real thing.
Wish me luck. 

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