Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My E-Mail Inbox is Finally Empty!

empty e-mail inbox for Jeri Dansky

I've read a lot about keeping your inbox empty - both your electronic inbox and your physical inbox. (Some of the best online reading: Inbox Zero, Chris Brogan, and StellaCommute.)

However, I've not been so great about actually getting my e-mail inbox emptied. Most of the 75-or-so older messages that sat in my e-mail inbox were ones where I hadn't taken the time to decide what to do about them. Did I need to reply? Take some action? Save the information? The longer the messages sat, the more embarrassing it was if I did want to follow up with the sender.

But I finally looked through each one, made my decision, and moved on. What a relief!

I think keeping it empty will be easier than getting it empty was. I often get over 100 messages daily, but many of those (such as most messages from my local Freecycle group) can be tossed pretty quickly. I just need to make sure I deal with those messages that require a bit more thought - by doing the thinking!

Now, on to my physical in-box, which isn't empty, either. But it will be, soon. (For those who follow Mark Forster, it's my Current Initiative.) Report to follow.

13 comments:

Julie Bestry said...

Jeri, by the end of each day, I never have more than four or five items still in my inbox. However, I never empty it. I often keep just one thing in there, because emptying it somehow feels like I'm tempting fate...encouraging the Fates to curse me with some horrible, depressing, bad-news email. :-) I know, wacky, eh?

When I was a kid, a friend noted that my mother always left a small bit of food on her plate. I'd never noticed, and my mom had no explanation, but I was captivated by the idea that by leaving a tiny bit of food, she was forestalling (metaphorically) ever going hungry. Thematically, like breaking the glass at a Jewish wedding to be reminded that there is still pain in the world, my one not-so-important hanger-on in the inbox is a talisman against something bad out there.

Or not. :-)

Jeri Dansky said...

Julie, whatever works!

Org Junkie said...

This is something I definitely have to do, mine hasn't been empty in quite some time but I do go through and weed it often. What is left are items that need action. Each day I try to do at least two as time allows.

Lauren Halagarda said...

Wahoo! Way to go on achieving "Inbox Zero", Jeri. It's a great feeling to open your email and not see a ton of clutter!

Jeri Dansky said...

Thanks, Lauren! It does indeed feel terrific!

Michele said...

Getting my inbox to empty is one of the best things I got from GTD. Even if I just process an email by moving it to a folder like "to be read," or "needs response," it feels great to have an empty inbox. I don't get to empty every day, but at least a few times a week I'm there.

Jeri Dansky said...

It sure does, Michele!

And now I've got the habit of just making decisions right away regarding what I want to do with each message. That saves a lot of time, since I don't go back and look at the same message a bunch of times.

newleafnews said...

Congratulations, Jeri! You're an inspiration!

Jeri Dansky said...

Thanks, NewLeafNews!

Janine Adams said...

Congrats, Jeri! I have to admit I tend to archive messages in my email inboxes (I have one for each email address), but thanks to Mac Mail's search feature it doesn't slow me down or bother me. My physical inboxes, however, are all but empty. I'm a follower of Mark Forster and I have a "Today" box and a "Tomorrow" box. By day's end the goal is always to have an empty "Today" box.

Allison Spitzer Carter said...

I sometimes feel sadness when my in-box is near empty. It's like getting to the end of a project. I always want another project to look forward to.

Jeri Dansky said...

Allison, I wouldn't have to wait long for a new message to arrive. I haven't counted, but I'm pretty sure I get over 100/day.

And if I want a new project, I just need to look at my someday/maybe list.

But it did feel a bit weird when I first got my inbox to zero messages. Now I try to do that once/day - and it feels weird when I can't do that.

But everyone manages e-mail differently, as you've explained so well.

Leslie Goodbar said...

For those of you who've dreamed of an empty Inbox but never seem to be able to get through the deluge, try Inbox Heaven.

http://putthingsoff.com/inbox-heaven