The beauty of an empty inbox

April 25th, 2008

My husband wrote a post a while back (yes, we’re a two-blog family – actually he has many blogs, that’s a whole story on its own) about a new approach he was going to take at keeping his e-mail inbox empty at work. (Steve’s post here) Interesting, I thought.

My method at handling my onslaught of incoming e-mail goes something like this. If it’s something quick I’ll respond to it, but I don’t delete the e-mail. I always fear I’ll need to look back on it for some reason. If it’s something that takes longer than a minute of time, I’ll flag it so that I’ll notice it and follow up on it later. Sometimes I forget though. If it’s really important, I’ll write it on my to-do list hanging on my bulletin board. I also have a few folders that I’ll move certain e-mails into. I get a lot about Family magazine, so it has its own folder. So as you can see, I don’t delete e-mails. And procrastination is the cornerstone of my method. Once in a great while I’ll go back through and delete some e-mails, but it’s always so overwhelming I stop after a while to move on to something else.

I always thought I had a good reason for my method though. I have a lot of deadlines to meet throughout the week and some have a really quick turnaround. If I stop and respond to all the e-mails, it will a. interrupt my thought process and b. possibly make me miss a deadline.

But just recently my email has been moved to another computer. Aaaah. A clean slate. It’s so refreshing to not see a list of thousands of messages just waiting for my attention or that I’ve possibly fallen behind on. So, I’ve decided to take Steve’s approach. I started last week actually.

And I have to say, it’s awesome. I just feel like it’s taking me so much less time to just tackle these issues right when they come up instead of going back to them and trying to remember what they were all about in the first place. If they contain a photo or a story, I move them into the correct place on our work servers first. Then after I’m done, I delete them. My inbox is usually completely empty now. It’s so much less stressful!

Interesting idea huh? Taking care of things right away instead of procrastinating? Who knew? Well, it sounds obvious now that I mention it, but it seems pretty profound to me.

Well, I gotta go, I got an e-mail.

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    About Us

    Me. Blogger. Formerly lived carefree life of eating out, staying out late, traveling and whatever else I wanted. Now mostly chase around two kids, cook, clean and work as graphic artist.

    Wonderful web guru husband who prepared this site for me. He's even trying to help to do dishes more around the house. Good man. I met him at a party in college in 1998 and he still hasn’t gone home.

    Unbelievably cute daughter who's been running the show at our house since March of 2007.

    Our newest, precious girl who just joined us in December of 2009.