Managing Email: Overflowing Inboxes
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While keeping up with the daily paper flow in one's In-Box is a challenge for most businesses, the same situation is repeating itself in email In-Boxes.It is not unusual, during our time management training seminars and consultations, to hear that hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of email messages have collected in someone's inbox.
Each time you fail to make an immediate decision on what to do with a note, it becomes clutter, just as the stacks of paper that accumulate in our offices do. This clutter is not only physical clutter but mental clutter, distracting us from the immediate tasks at hand.
Consider two ways that these missives accumulate. Start by imagining you left a totally empty Inbox and that you receive 50 emails a day.
Fifty emails were waiting for you today, a conservative number, and you cleared out 25 of them, leaving the other 25 to handle at a different time. Tomorrow there are 50 new ones. If you again handle 25 and clear them out, leaving the remainder for another time, you start with 100 on the 3rd day. In a week, when you open your inbox, instead of the 50 that you began with that week, you now are looking at 225 things to make decisions about. Stress starts to build..
You receive 50 emails today and deal with 25 of them but do not delete them because you never know when you might want to reference that information again. Therefore tomorrow you have 100 emails in your Inbox as you start the day. You have to scan through all of them because some of the ones from yesterday may now require additional action, but you’re not sure which ones. The next Monday you’re facing 350 emails and dread the thought of having to work through them..
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