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15 Jun

Is an empty inbox equivalent of self-deception?


Datum: 2016-06-15 15:17

There is a lot of talk about hav­ing an emp­ty inbox at the moment. And I also often speak about the won­der­ful feel­ing of hav­ing the inbox emp­tied. I praise the emp­ty inbox when lec­tur­ing and I def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend that every­one strive to have a zero inbox” regularly.

Some­times some­one in the audi­ence rais­es their hand and says:

But that’s ridicu­lous. That is just self-decep­tion. I still have to keep track of what I have stored and saved.”

I under­stand their con­cern. No one wants to fool them­selves into doing some­thing dis­ad­van­ta­geous just for the sake of it.

But, I also hear warn­ing-bells chime when I hear the words keep track of”. To me, these words sig­nal that there are con­cealed to-do-tasks in what has been put aside or stored away. Hav­ing this said, I under­stand why some­one feels reluc­tant to just save e‑mails in fold­ers since this will then result in even more places we need to keep track of”. I feel stressed just think­ing about it.

Does hid­den = forgotten?
It is not the places we have stored mate­ri­als away in which we need to keep track of. It is the to-do-list (and per­haps the cal­en­dar as well). We should not have to access the fold­ers or places we have saved e‑mails in until we are search­ing for a spe­cif­ic e‑mail.

The to-do-list should con­tain every­thing, and real­ly every thing, which we are going to do, take care of or keep track of. Not until we keep it all in one, and only one, loca­tion will it be pos­si­ble to obtain the overview we need to be sure that we are doing the right thing right now.

Do this
Think about if you have any e‑mails saved some­where which you need to keep an eye on or remem­ber? If so, cre­ate a to-do-task for each and every one and hence allow your list to be the only loca­tion you need to pay atten­tion to.

You could for instance phrase a task along the lines of: In the begin­ning of Novem­ber, read the e‑mail X sent and take action if doing so should be appro­pri­ate.” or The next time you are going to cre­ate the report, look through e‑mail Y for instruc­tions.” and set the day you know you need to per­form the task as the due date. Some­thing like this.

Keep an eye on the right place
You see, if you for­mu­late to-do-tasks for all the things you need to do and keep track of, you can relax and men­tal­ly let go of the e‑mail once you have saved it in a fold­er for future ref­er­ence. You can then whole­heart­ed­ly enjoy your emp­ty inbox and will not have to wor­ry that you have missed some­thing important.

What is your trick?
Do you make sure to emp­ty your inbox out com­plete­ly once in a while? What is your trick for doing so suc­cess­ful­ly and with­out then feel­ing wor­ried about miss­ing some­thing? Com­ment below if you have a trick up your sleeve. 

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