Dream of an Empty Inbox

How many messages are in your email inbox right now? Seriously, I have seen too many people become completely overwhelmed by the onslaught of email. Just because it is digital doesn’t give you an excuse to become an e-packrat.

And once your email inbox gets too deep to manage, what do you do? You probably scroll up and down to find a message from someone or from three days ago. Maybe you organize your messages into a nested collection of folders for co-workers, clients, projects, friends, humor, etc. If you are lucky, your email has a great search tool or “smart” filtering capability, but most people barely know how to use this at all.

It all just seems like too much work.

What would you do differently if your email program only stored messages for 24 hours?

Or is the question really this: once you have read an email message the first time, what is it still doing in your inbox?

Comments

  1. After an extensive research of this very same question: what’s the email still doing in your inbox?, I found out that people simple didn’t know what else to do with the email! Sounds silly for people with organized inboxes, but a lot of people simply don’t know how to keep things organized. And because no one can see the “clutter” or “mess” they aren’t worried about it.
    An outlook Add-On called MoveIT from http://www.bluelightit.com/MoveIt makes it very easy to organize your inbox and keep it organized. It literally frees up times instantly, and doesn’t compromise the way you work with your emails. Try it and let me know what you think. In my blog emailoverloaded.wordpress.com I talk about the problems of email in the workplace and its effect on productivity.

  2. After an extensive research of this very same question: what’s the email still doing in your inbox?, I found out that people simple didn’t know what else to do with the email! Sounds silly for people with organized inboxes, but a lot of people simply don’t know how to keep things organized. And because no one can see the “clutter” or “mess” they aren’t worried about it.
    An outlook Add-On called MoveIT from http://www.bluelightit.com/MoveIt makes it very easy to organize your inbox and keep it organized. It literally frees up times instantly, and doesn’t compromise the way you work with your emails. Try it and let me know what you think. In my blog emailoverloaded.wordpress.com I talk about the problems of email in the workplace and its effect on productivity.

  3. Howard,

    This is an interesting topic (because everyone labors under the rule of e-mail). Personally, I create a quarterly .pst file and have a folder for each month. All my sent and received mail goes there monthly. It’s nice to have searchability on all the different posts, and I’ve gone back surprisingly frequently to figure something out or hold someone accountable. Personally I get lost in complex nested directory structures (or have e-mails that could/should go in multple folders.

    Luis Suarez has a very interesting blog series on his efforts to cut out e-mail at work. http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/km/elsua/archives/giving-up-on-work-email-status-report-on-week-9-23748

    I also did a scientific investigation of my received e-mail. Was surprised by the results. I use(d) e-mail as a dialog tool… which is not really a good use. http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/cio/original-thinking/archives/whats-in-my-inbox-21285

    Dennis

  4. Howard,

    This is an interesting topic (because everyone labors under the rule of e-mail). Personally, I create a quarterly .pst file and have a folder for each month. All my sent and received mail goes there monthly. It’s nice to have searchability on all the different posts, and I’ve gone back surprisingly frequently to figure something out or hold someone accountable. Personally I get lost in complex nested directory structures (or have e-mails that could/should go in multple folders.

    Luis Suarez has a very interesting blog series on his efforts to cut out e-mail at work. http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/km/elsua/archives/giving-up-on-work-email-status-report-on-week-9-23748

    I also did a scientific investigation of my received e-mail. Was surprised by the results. I use(d) e-mail as a dialog tool… which is not really a good use. http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/cio/original-thinking/archives/whats-in-my-inbox-21285

    Dennis