Email Hell


At one point the main inbox was up to 980 something. I began serious winnowing and am now down to 714 – it was below 700 when I went to bed last night. And that’s just one email. The others have 130-ish, 60-ish, and 18 in another. Also not including sent email, drafts, etc. And trash, all that trash, which has to be deleted again.

It was with a sense of relief that I turned to in Slate’s “The Key to Ending Inbox Anxiety Is One Simple Word: Delete.” Abby McIntyre suggests giving each a five-second test and then choosing delete, archive, reply. She does it immediately, which I don’t because it interrupts the workflow. Guess I’m one of the people she’s doffing her cap to while saying that I “hack my productivity” because I only read emails twice a day (late morning and mid- to late- afternoon) unless someone asks me to look for something right away.

Many contain information that I use in my work or share with the veterans, etc. These are the ones that pile up along with paper issues of magazines and the NYTimes do.

One thing I don’t do is reread emails unless I get a response indicating that I’ve missed something, and then I can usually find it in the string, which I try to avoid. Also hated: people who hit “reply all” unless everyone else really needs to know the answer. Please. Don’t.

None of the options in the poll really applied to me, so I chose “circle each one like a hawk” because it was closest. I don’t know if it’s good that I’m part of 23 percent of the Slate-reading public who chose to answer the survey.

Anyway, I’ve resolved to winnow by deleting at least ten emails a day—starting tomorrow.

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