A while back I had a conversation with a friend regarding the feelings of calmness and freedom that followed the initial panic over realizing you forgot your cell phone. As I mentioned yesterday, I hate smart phones and Blackberries, mainly because the email client means people can not only reach you anywhere you go, but they expect an immediate response too. For some reason, ignoring a phone call is more acceptable than ignoring an email.
Too many emails in my inbox gives me information overload. I don't know what to handle first, and I get overwhelmed. Being the uber-organized person I am, I long ago switched to folders, where I deposited the emails which did not require an immediate response or were for reference. Shortly thereafter, those folders came to be known as "the abyss." I have the best of intentions regarding looking at those filed emails, but somehow the mere act of moving the emails satisfies my guilt over having to "do something" with the email.
Barbara Brotman from the Chicago Tribune appears to be in the same boat as me. She wrote an entire column on her secret relief when her newspaper's email server crashed, taking her entire inbox and archives with it. All those emails from months ago she intended to respond to were, poof, gone, and it wasn't her fault. I've never had over a thousand emails before, but I can imagine the immediate freedom she experienced was mind-blowing.
Elisa of Worker Bee blog offers the intriguing suggestion that inspired today's post title. The first of every month she declares "email bankruptcy" and moves all the items in her inbox to another folder. I'm not totally clear on her method, but the thought of having the phrase "you have no new items" appearing in my Gmail is very appealing. Just opening my email and seeing all those messages sitting there gets me down before I've even scanned the new ones.
Leo Babauta of ZenHabits has taken it one step further and declared his independence from email. His post, "Killing Email: How and Why I Ditched my Inbox," gleefully details his reasoning behind the momentous move and details the step-by-step method he took to shake free from the clutches of electronic mail.
A lot of things have been created to make our lives easier, but some of them have come back to bite us. These stories may not qualify as strictly "good news," but it is nice to know others are having the same thought and some of them have even managed to do something about it.