Mastering Email Underload – Can you be too goood?

Mastering Email Underload – Can you be too goood?

I’ve written in the past about how email overload can affect us and the pleasures of having an empty inbox. The theory is that if your inbox is too full you don’t want to handle anything that’s in it because of the sheer amount of items, let alone even fire up your email program.

Okay, so this is true. But how does having an empty inbox feel?

I’ve been religiously sorting, deleting, filing and flagging my messages for the 6 weeks I’ve been back at work since Christmas. I currently have one email in my inbox which I will reply to when I’ve written this then dump it in the deleted items folder. “Great!” I hear you all cry, “I wish I could say the same.” The problem is that now I feel as though I haven’t got anything to do, I’ve been too efficient.

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Maybe, maybe not. All my tasks are written down on my Project Next Action Lists so are off my radar as far as email is concerned and it’s not that I don’t actually have anything to do (10 projects on the go – not too bad) but I feel almost guilty about the lack of items in my inbox; consequently I don’t even like looking at it anymore.

I can’t deny the pleasure and the productivity that an empty inbox has brought but now I’m wondering whether I should stack them all up and deal with them on Friday before heading home for the weekend so I can at least feel like I’ve done some work during the week.

Anyone got any thoughts on how I can overcome this hump in the road?

I suppose I shouldn’t even be complaining really cheeky tongue

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1 Comment


    “I think you’re right that the empty inbox can feel like an invitation do do nothing — especially in a job where you sit in front of your computer all day. (I know, I live there too.)

    I have tried to tackle this problem by finding ways to get my paper next actions list “”on my radar””. Right now, it sits in a copystand, so it’s up and easy to see. When it was flat on the desk, it was much easier to ignore.

    You’re right that it’s an issue of task visibility — find some way to keep your lists in your face, and you can dispatch them as well as you handle your e-mail!”

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