The elusive “Inbox = 0”

For the past week I’ve been trying to get my Uni mail inbox down to zero – this is how I know it’s ‘summer’.

It’s been good. Refreshing. 1 week ago I had 697 unread mails, by Saturday night I was down to 78, and reached a new low (high?) of 55 by Sunday. It was amazing actually. As the unread mails decreased in number, I started to feel as though as a weight had been lifted. I felt happy, inspired, carefree. Ideas were popping into my head left, right and centre – GOOD ideas, the kind of ideas that keep me awake at night, getting excited about the year ahead…

Then I logged in this morning and it was up to 102.

Dammit. That’s the thing with email – people reply. Not that I don’t appreciate the replies of course, but it suddenly hit me. Why am I chasing zero? It’s never going to work. It’s not sustainable. I then decided that ‘below 100’ would be a good target. It’s realistic – albeit not as satisfying as a big fat ZERO. Let’s face it, the zero is never going to last more than 10 minutes. I may as well chase rainbows.

So I’ve accepted the fact that a) zero is an unrealistic target, and b) occasionally I will fail to respond to emails, as I read from most recent first, and when they fly in thick and fast I’m unlikely to catch up for quite a while. I’ll try my hardest NOT to miss anything important, but occasionally I will, and I’ll catch up eventually and apologise. Luckily, it seems as though most people are having the same problem so they understand.

I guess the reason I’m writing this now is twofold: 1) When the inbox gets out of control and I start to feel guilty I’ll be able to read this, 2) Just came across this piece in the New York Times and it really struck a chord.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this post to the wonderful @savasavasava as we’ve been swapping inbox tweets for a while now. Here’s what she has to say:

Yeah, on second thoughts, perhaps Sava’s goal is even more realistic/achievable. Wise woman.