Live Bold List #31: The bold guide to a Zen Email Inbox

Dearest Bold Soul,
*Hugs* Mwah! Thanks for coming! I hope this finds you feeling like a shining entity of Glow, and keen to exercise your curiosity :)
This is potentially a contentious blog post; probably my most contrary ever (after I’m Giving Up!) Read on at your peril!

List 31a: This list might be for you if you

  1. are comfortable with large huge really quite enormous numbers next to the heading “Inbox” in your email program
  2. think of white or zero as a void where there could be perfectly good patterns or colours or interesting things
  3. are happier with a full complement of creative mess around you
  4. will genuinely get around to it, but you don’t want to do the triage and the ‘dealing with it’ all in one session
  5. like to attend to your emails, so they aren’t sitting too long with that Unread marker

Live Bold List 31: The bold guide to a Zen Email Inbox

  1. Check maybe twice a day. No more – that’s enough!
  2. Triage (aka. sorting it out):
    • Does it need to be read? If it short, read it. If it’s longer (and interesting) or has a lot of links you might like, open it and come back to it later.
    • Is it a mass mail out that isn’t needed today? Unsubscribe or ignore & leave in the inbox.
      Does it Need a reply? – open the email and leave open on a desktop. You’ll deal with it later when your brain’s not in triage mode. I have a Mac and I keep one of my [changeable number of] Desktops just for emails.
    • Actual junk that you haven’t asked for – click the ‘thumbs down’ symbol and delete.
      Friends email address sending spam? Tell them their account’s been hacked :(
      Leave emails that don’t need action in your inbox. Day by day, they’ll slowly crawl down and out of sight (see #6)!
  3. Cancel any subscription that doesn’t give you any joy or is no longer relevant
  4. Later: respond to the emails you opened. If you leave it long enough, some of the items will be out of date (just close those ones), some won’t need a reply after all (close ’em) and some will need a reply (you will have been percolating subconsciously about what to say to those and the replies will flow quite easily)
  5. Edit your replies down, so they are short, concise and clear.
  6. You *will* quickly get a *very large number* next to the Inbox header. It’s ok. My techie husband, Tangerine Man, says that emails take up very little storage space on your computer. You can just leave them there to reference later if you need, however:
  7. If you are wanting to have a semblance of sorting going on keep certain project-based bits of information for your records (financial or logistical), make some folders with names of projects or other categories in which to put relevant emails. You can do a search of the inbox to find them and then drag them in there. Then when you need to reference them they’ll be right there.
  8. Make sure you do work and fun stuff that isn’t emails! Hooooray!

Here’s another idea, from Matt Madeiro, a great way to use your email powers for good.

In conclusion, I put it to you that an empty Inbox is not the *only* Zen Inbox. It’s about how you feel when you look at it, right? If it doesn’t overwhelm or stress you or give you a sense of dread, then it’s Zen – go about your day, matey!
Let me know if you agree, or, if you think I’m right off the mark – down below in the Comments Section :)

Have a *chilled* day, lovely one.
Love from your friendly Zen Heretic,
Meg x o

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.