Monday, January 13, 2014

Reform: Tales from a Messy Inbox

While I was growing up, I lived in a house that was condemned. Not only was the foundation so weak that one good blustery wind could have knocked it over, but the amount of stuff piled up was so incredible that when our neighbors called CPS on my parents (oh, the neighborly relations have been chilly ever since), the social worker who met with me and my sister asked us if we knew where to find our toothbrushes.  Anyway, my parents built a new house so the foundation problem was fixed, but the stuff problem is still an issue - so much stuff and so few places to sit or walk. I visited my mother a couple of weeks ago so that means as soon as I got home, I started throwing away everything in our house that wasn't essential.  I am the anti-hoarder. I throw away important documents we need because, you know, papers gotta go.

The one place I tend to let things get out of control is my email.

I logged on to my school email Saturday morning and noticed that my inbox had over six hundred emails in it. I was...disturbed. The account it essentially a year old and I had never really taken the time to organize it.

My gmail account, the one I use primarily for my other job, had an inbox of just about equal length. And don't even get me started on my hotmail account, the one I use for personal stuff.

My system of multiple accounts drives my husband crazy.  Just consolidate them into one account, he has said so many times that it makes me want to stuff the words right back inside his mouth because I heard him the first 3204982930 times he has said it.  Anyway, I like this system of multiple accounts because I know what types of emails I can expect to get from each account and what types of action I will have to take with each account. 

It's no news to anyone that having a clean inbox makes you feel good, forces you to take quick action on situations that don't require much work on your part, and prevents important messages from getting buried in your inbox which means you don't forget to do those important things.   So this past weekend I spent more hours than you will ever know cleaning out my inboxes and making them look like this:

I will keep my inboxes to ten message or fewer. I will keep my inboxes to ten messages or fewer. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. Maybe this one should be mine.  So I don't become a digital hoarder.

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