I started yesterday. I made it a mission to get to inbox zero before the ball dropped on the new year. My email situation has been horrible all year. Truly horrible. Beyond the mass amounts of newsletters I keep trying to unsubscribe to, I seem to be on every single creative offer list.
The BIG shift towards chaos this year has been writing in entertainment news. I now get every single press release and news blurb and celebrity image and magazine cover sent directly to my inbox. This is great, this is necessary for my job, but if I don’t manage the stuff as it comes in the weeds begin to grow.
I spent several hours yesterday setting up smart mailboxes and new folders. I gave myself permission to click delete. Where do I get this need to hang on to every email? I have this sort of anxiety that some day someone might ask me a question and I will be able to save the day by searching through my inbox and coming up with the answer. I had to get firm with my impulses and remind myself that I CAN save an email…I just don’t need to save it in my inbox.
This is the part where I confess that I probably deleted very important emails and at some point I will realize that…but I had to. I couldn’t see ANYTHING. After I deleted the newsletters and the junk I discovered I had 1,812 UNREAD emails. This is where having the smart mailboxes was really helpful. Since I had set up folders for things like work, friends, W’s school, Mom, and social media I was able to go into each smart folder and read them. Then I went back into my inbox and was able to delete the emails I could.
(again, my apologies to all of the people who I did not return an email to in 2013.)
FINALLY, by early this morning I made it. I got to inbox zero! It was such a beautiful moment. It didn’t even look like a real inbox, it looked like some kid or toy app on my screen. I had to run out to the grocery store and by the time I got back my inbox was stuffed and I WAS SO MAD. How DARE someone email me!! Come ON!!! But I took a breath and I quickly deleted the obvious junk. Then I responded to work emails. Then I deleted some of those emails and FILED some.
I think the only way I will be able to keep the inbox tame is to get to zero every night and only leaving items in the inbox that are todo sort of tasks for the next day. It felt really, really, REALLY good to get this under control.