I have a real struggle with email and the concept of inbox zero. I like the concept, of course I do – a clear screen at the end of the day would be lovely. The reality is that I just cannot achieve it, I receive too many emails and email is my main way of working, I do spend half my day working in email format. Hopefully usefully, but maybe not.
Yesterday I was hit by the feeling that I have a lot of emails I have not responded to. So I disappeared down the rabbit hole of filing and deleting emails. I am still in the rabbit hole. Is it productive? I am really not sure it is, but I am not clear how else I go through weeks of emails and check what I still need to action.
There is of course the theory that if I have missed something, someone will tell me about it. But my team is in a busy period, so I am less confident of that as a work method.
And there is the additional theory that Outlook enables easier searching when you leave everything in an inbox, rather than filing in a plethora of folders.
I had become much stronger in resisting temptation to delete all emails, but somehow I have succumbed to the temptation of inbox zero this week. Maybe I need to compromise and just aim for clearing all of this month’s emails, in the hope that if I have not something from last month, then I will be reminded. What a 21st century problem! I need to remember that my work is not email, email is the tool I use for work!