9026 + 899 = My Email

This is not a new math problem that can only be answered using Common Core Standards. Seriously, these were the numbers I saw when I opened my email on the desktop
counter top computer. I tried to access my email via my phone, but lately it has taken a long time to load. I was impatient so I booted up the computer and felt uneasy when I stared at the large numbers.

It reminded me of when I  was really sick a few years back and my husband was out-of-town. I was so sick I couldn’t walk. I had to crawl to the kitchen and told my small children they had to make their own breakfast and amuse themselves with television for the day. A week later, I was finally able to deal with the aftermath – mountains of laundry, a lot of dishes, dust bunnies as big as kittens, grimy counter tops, and dirty bathrooms. I felt so overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to tackle first because it seemed like getting my house back to normal was impossible. Eventually, I chipped away at the neglect  and little by little things were back to normal. Just like I had neglected my house during my illness, I have also been neglecting my email. Day after day and month after month I just let the emails pile up instead of deleting and filing a bit at a time. Most of it is e-junk mail. A hot deal only for today, a new collection out, a newsletter about local education issues, a class thread about homework. Instead of deleting these emails or placing them in the right folder, I ignored them until they grew out of control.

Well, I realized it was time to clean up the mess and not have a cluttered inbox. It’s just too distracting to my brain and prevents me from being productive. I began Friday afternoon and set my goal to delete 1,00 emails. Saturday, I spent the morning with my goal to get through to last October. While I was successful with both goals, I was not done. At this point I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I have less than 6,000 emails in my inbox and less than 300 in my folders. I decided that I couldn’t spend my entire weekend at the computer just cleaning things out. My end goal is to have 0 in my inbox by the end of this week.

It has been a tedious experience and I think I have learned a few lessons in the process. For the future I plan to do a few things differently:

  1. Delete as many emails a day as I can
  2. Try a weekly catch up reading folder  and see if a.) I remember to use it and b.)I am able to read through the emails/articles/blogs I am setting aside within an hour or so
  3. Schedule time once a week to clear/organize my email accounts (yes, I have more than one!)

I hope that I can keep a tidy inbox so I am more productive and spend my time writing and creating instead of dealing with accumulated electronic clutter. I also hope this overhaul will resolve the issues with my phone.

Am I the only one who has let an inbox get wildly out of control? I’d love to hear your stories or tips on how you tame your inbox.