Tag Archives: email

Inbox Zero

My IT class was staring at me in shock and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I noticed their eyes sliding between me and the projector on the wall behind me. I turned and noticed that the projector was now showing my Gmail account, because I had just used Gmail to send a code sample to the class.

“What?” I asked.

“You have twenty-three thousand unread emails,” stammered a participant.

Getting to Zero

My Gmail account serves as a backup – I forward all the mail from my various accounts to it as an archive. So I don’t read the mails in my Gmail account, leading to a build-up of many thousands that seemed unread to Google.

My real email inbox is empty at the end of the day. Yours should be, too.

The reason your inbox should be empty is that any kind of unfinished business occupies part of your attention. If your inbox is full of new things you haven’t read, things you haven’t decided what to do about, and things you are just keeping because you’ll work on them later, your brain will keep thinking about your inbox, and you will be compulsively checking it several times an hour to make sure you’re not missing anything.

There is more about Inbox Zero in this week’s Spiritual Programmer newsletter. Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/3z_0v

The Weight of an E-mail

What does an e-mail weigh? Nothing, you say, it’s just bits in a computer somewhere.

Wrong. Each e-mail you allow to pile up in your inbox is weighing you down. It’s another item on your to-do list, in addition to all the other to-do lists you have lying around on post-it notes and in half-heartedly maintained task management systems.

Every e-mail in your inbox is an open loop and a load on your brain. You need to establish a procedure for getting your inbox to zero every day. You don’t have to do everything, but you need to have processed everything and have placed it into a system where you are sure nothing gets lost.

Personally, I’m using SaneBox to help me keep my inbox empty, but any procedure or tool is good. Free your mind, empty your inbox.