GTD – Inbox hygeine

Doubtlessly a lot of people are entering the New Year with some vow to do a better job managing their inbox. I know some very meticulous people who refuse to end the day with an email lingering in their inbox,  I know some people who use their inbox as a historical archive of everything from spam to hot action items.

I work for an organization that caps inbox capacity and sends warnings to disable functions if my mail file isn’t cleared out below a half-gig limit. There are various Lotus Notes utilities for archiving and saving attachments, but the entire inbox management thing is stressful, the source of a lot of corrosive anxiety on my part about mails unanswered and space limits exceeded.

One habit I have been using for the past few months is to declare flying time the period when I go in and manage my inbox. I have attempted to use subfolders to sort mails, have wrestled with various organization rules to automate that sorting, but in the end I just go through a process of quickly previewing old mails, and making a quick David Allen – Getting Things Done decision to delete, reply or delegate as opposed to sort and store.
I set Notes on “Island” or disconnected mode and start weeding through the file, replying to mails that need replys, forwarding others to delegate, and deleting the rest.  When I land, I make my connection, switch to online mode, replicate, and voila, have a “clean” inbox.

Yet it never feels clean.

I have yet to get the courage that I once heard Guy Kawasaki claim when he told me that deleted his whole inbox every now and then with a simple block select and delete combo. His feeling was if there was something truly important or life threatening in the past, it would come back to haunt him.

I wish I had that courage as I get close to today’s date. Even in weeding down from 1000 to 300, I see that a ton are still sitting there, records of important stuff that I need to transfer out of Notes into a better archive. I have been blocksaving out of Notes into OneNote, but that doesn’t feel right either.

What’s your trick? How do you cope? Are you an inbox slob or an inbox anal-retentive?

Merlin Mann at 43 Folders has written the FAQ on what he calls “Inbox Zero” 

Valleywag’s Second Life takedown continues

AVATARS IN THE NEWS: A guide to Anshe Chung – Valleywag

Denton has brought Valleywag back from near death by making it one of the best, most caustic, and piercing critiques of the stupidity that reigns online. From their latest in their incessant coverage of Second Life hype, is this wonderful line:

“And marketing consultants, in their constant search for empty novelty, and easy press coverage, have talked their more credulous clients into substantial expenditure on in-world campaigns.”

Those consultants are the ones I addressed back in November. Go away. I don’t do “new” for the sake of newness.