Looking at my phone is an emotional roller coaster. A text from a friend or a shared photo on instagram feels sweet, but then there’s always a haunting number that never seems to go away and sits like a red infected unavoidable cold sore on my home screen.
When I see the blue envelope icon with a glaring RED number in the thousands tallying my unread emails my heart sinks. A negative trigger goes off in my brain and I feel lesser than, a reminder of something I have been avoiding, a dirty room that needs to be cleaned and never is.
This inbox abundance is not a sign of popularity. In fact, I probably get no more than 2 personal emails a day and 10 to 15 business emails of any value and an Evite from time to time which inevitably gets buried. The personal ones are hard to tease through once opened as the thread keeps me searching where it begins and where it ends.
I’ve tried to tidy up and reduce this number to under 50 but it’s hopeless. Last month I had a techno tantrum and blasted away every one with an aggressive global delete risking the loss of a few important emails. But, like a rodent infestation they returned and were back up to the thousands in a week’s time. Clearly, this daily sweep through unread emails is a discipline but the rewards are so fleeting it’s hard to keep at it.
So I wonder if there’s any way out? And then I read this New York Times piece about rude unresponsive email behavior.
“If you don’t respond to an email are you rude? If you say you didn’t have time to read it because you had too much other stuff in your inbox are you beyond rude? YES!”
UGGGH, I am so guilty of email paralysis. I have 4 email accounts (2 for work) and one personal and then one specifically set up to avoid junk/clutter which is ineffective. And I can’t figure out how to solve this problem.
So, I tell my friends and even business contacts to text me if they really need to reach me.
I’m lucky I don’t work in an office and have to face the people whose emails I didn’t respond to. When I talk to a friend who says, “I sent you an email and I haven’t heard back.” Well, I feel terrible and quickly respond that they should text me as I can’t seem to tease out garbage emails from ones I really want to read.
This past week an email popped into my inbox and I read it. “BRAVO!” The bad news is, it was about email clutter written by Adam Grant, and Organizational Psychologist. (I may need to hire him). If you want to know what he thinks about Email Clutter, read on…. and let us know if you agree! This is his article from the New York Times….