Alright folks. I’ve nearly done it. After years of being buried in e-mail, I’m down to just 39 messages left to process before my inbox is empty. Not bad, eh? Over the past two weeks, I’ve managed to archive hundreds of old messages, delete hundreds of others, and actually reply to a couple of hundred very patient people. And now I’m nearly to that mythical state called Inbox Zero.
More and more, I’ve come to understand that e-mail really is a “variable reinforcement machine”. It’s like a little pleasure pill that sucks productivity from your life.
I’m not about to go email-free like I’ve heard some other crazy folks do. I’ll admit it’s tempting, but I feel like that’s just me being difficult, being unwilling to address my own problems and so creating problems for those who want to contact me. Instead, I’ve set up a series of filters in gmail (which I now cannot live without despite my initial hatred for it) that will help me process the incoming flood of messages. Plus, I plan to be merciless about archiving stuff. Nothing gets to sit in the inbox except the stuff that actually needs a researched reply.
While looking up my link for Inbox Zero, I found Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero website. Mann is the guy behing the productivity blog 43 Folders. He’s a producitivy expert in a similar way to how I’m a personal finance expert. And he’s writing a book. He made this video about the process, which I find hilarious:
Hahahah! Having just finished my own book-writing process, I find this very very funny. My office, too, looked like something from Silence of the Lambs. At one point — well, “line” is probably a better metaphor — I just gave up and started hucking things over my left shoulder. No joke. I had a mound of trash (much of it food-related) that built for months in my office. I’m not proud of the this, but facts are facts.
Anyhow: Inbox Zero and my book is done. Will wonders never cease?