I remember the last century fondly. In 1996 email management was easy: answer it all the same day, every day. Inbox Zero was my default. Now, oof, Inbox Zero looks like a mythical beast. (A brief definition: inbox = the list of emails newly arrived and/or marked as new so I remember to respond. Ha ha ha.)
So how many of you have ever achieved the nirvana of Inbox Zero? Have you done it this century?
How do you manage your mail?
Some people manage it like laundry: just leave it lying around, and then it either gets so stale you can throw it away without a qualm, or it becomes magically fresh again, i.e. interesting, and you’re motivated to respond. Some people despair on a regular basis, delete everything, and send a cheery general email: just lost my email, so if you didn’t get a response, email me again.
I used to organise and save my mail. I had a massive 12-year archive, which I lost in a hard drive meltdown in 2005. I was mostly relieved–though very sorry to have lost the couple of dozen emails from Carolyn, my sister, who died in 2001.
I have, in fact, achieved Inbox Zero once this year–around February, I think. I wish I’d thought to take a screenshot of the momentous event. Today I’m going to do the cull-the-stale thing (requests for blurbs for books long-since published; requests for essays for journals already in press; requests for auction items for causes long-since failed–are you seeing a pattern?) and reduce the inbox by about a third.
So how about you? How do you deal? Check as many answers as apply.