Zero inbox clarification

says about my zero inbox post:

ooooh, you mean you don’t save them for ever and ever? Even if you might NEED them? Or might could possibly want to refer to something they referred to?

Moving messages to sub-folders for later reference is allowed, but they cannot require action once they leave the inbox–they are purely for reference or AC.

From what I know about your workplace, I think you already check email as a discrete task. That is, it is a task with a beginning and an end.

See, many of us cubedwellers live in email. Email (Outlook for most of us) is open on your desktop all day, every day. By default, popup notifications immediately tell you when new email arrives. We don’t “check email” in offices anymore–we’re online or offline. (Those of us lucky enough not to have crackberries, anyway.) If we are online, we are looking at email. And we look at it… and we let it sit in the inbox, because it’s probably not important enough to do anything with. But you just did something with it! You looked away from what you were doing and looked at the email.

Well, I don’t believe its right. Multitasking reduces efficiency as far as I’m concerned. I want to check my email as a discrete task. I do not want to monitor email as I perform other tasks. Email is not a phone.

I don’t usually answer the phone, either. But that’s another discussion…

I want zero emails in my inbox because once there are zero, there’s no reason to keep Outlook open. I’ll open it again later to see if there’s more.

“But what about meeting reminders?!” The cubedwellers ask incredulously.

Checking my calendar becomes part of checking my email 4 times a day–when I arrive, before I leave for lunch, when I get back from lunch, and before I leave for the day. I can keep track of where and when I need to be over 4-hour intervals, especially when I’m not distracted by a constant stream of email.

I’m down to 138 emails in my inbox. But the first pass was easy chaff to trash. The rest will take some real thought and processing. But I’m committed to zero inbox by the end of the week.

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