It occurred to me lately that a sure sign of one’s productivity—or lack thereof—is the state of one’s Inbox. Mine is out of control. I currently have 1249 emails in one box and nearly 400 in the other. That’s 1649 emails waiting to be dealt with.
That may not seem like a lot of email for some people. It may not even seem like a lot for most people. But it’s a heck of a lot for me and while I’d like to say I have a very good reason for having 1649 emails in my Inbox, the truth is…I don’t. I haven’t been on a wonderful vacation in some far off land that doesn’t have WI-FI or Internet cafes. I haven’t won a lottery and been spending all of my time daydreaming about the things I’m going to do with my newly acquired millions. Nor can I blame it on a looming deadline, given that I turned in my last set of revisions three weeks ago and haven’t started on a new project yet.
But my Inbox is still out of control and it’s bringing on a really severe case of The Guilts.
Now I remember a time when Guilt came in a more tangible form…like letters to relatives unanswered or phone calls not returned. But suddenly, Guilt has become technology based. It’s news not tweeted and Facebook pages not visited. It’s being out of date with Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And it’s email not replied to, sorted, filed or deleted.
Think about all the things we do now by email—and, therefore, all the things that could be falling by the wayside. The subscriptions not renewed and the bills not paid. The invitations left unanswered and the research material ignored. Many of my emails probably aren’t even valid anymore! Classes will have commenced, best before dates expired, and the rousing discussions I might have participated in will have long since ended. All because I let myself rack up 1649 emails that now need looking at and that are going to get in the way of doing the other things I should be doing in this brief hiatus between finishing one book and starting another. And sadly, I know the reason why.
Discipline; that wondrous quality that keeps me in my chair as I slog through my SFD’s and all the revisions that come after, is noticeably lacking when it comes to keeping my Inbox under control.
Well, there’s nothing for it but to bite the bullet and get down to work. It’s time to apply the same determination to the de-cluttering of my Inbox that I bring to my writing and to stick with it until I’m back in single digits. It’s time to face those 1649 emails…which left unattended will swell to 1749 by this time tomorrow…and sort the wheat from the chaff, the non-essential from the essential, and to bring order to the chaos.
1649 emails. I think I’d better pack a lunch.