Confession: I'm a hoarder.
Okay, let me clarify: I'm not an actual hoarder—in fact, I'm typically pretty organized. My shirts are arranged by color and sleeve length. I tell everyone I meet about how "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" book actually WILL change their life. And since I work from a home office, the house MUST be clean or I can't function at my job.
But while I'm not a hoarder of physical objects, I am a complete mess in the Inbox department. Despite knowing the virtues of a tidy Inbox—and even the details of how to conquer it—I have just never managed to implement any sort of system into my own email.
I'm so ashamed of how many unopened, unorganized emails are taunting me in my Inbox that I won't even disclose the number. Instead, let me give you a glimpse of what I’m up against here. Right this instant, I can see ten messages in my Message Preview pane. Of these ten messages:
- Four messages are from subscription/mailing lists I don't remember ever signing up for. Odds of me deleting them? Unlikely.
- Three messages require no follow-up from me whatsoever. Odds of me getting rid of them? Nonexistent.
- One message is an update from Yammer telling me that someone liked a message I posted. Odds that I'll need to prove this two years from now? HA.
See the problem? Yeah, me too.
I have a coworker who has fully committed to the "Inbox Zero" concept (keeping the Inbox completely clear by immediately addressing whatever is received), but the idea of actually attempting it in my own work email sends me into a slight panic.
Is it paranoia of deleting something that I'll need later? The fact that if everything is in the Cloud, storage isn’t a concern—so why bother? Or am I unknowingly on the verge of holding on to eight-year-old Taco Bell wrappers just in case they'll make a quirky wrapping paper a few years down the road?
Whatever my fears, it’s time look toward a brighter future—it's 2016 and time for a fresh start. So over the next month, I’m going to change the way I manage email—and I'm inviting you to join me in the journey. I know I'm not the only one who is Inbox-afflicted, so follow along each week, and together we'll:
- Clear out the clutter.
- Organize the chaos.
- Take back the Inbox.
We're going to consult with some Outlook experts to learn how to finally end the madness and pave the way to Inbox Zero. I promise that if I can do it, you can, too.