Five reasons Inbox zero is a myth.
Are you chasing inbox zero? No emails are left in your inbox at the end of your day, week, or month. Give it up! Getting to Inbox 0 is a myth. It is a part of the myth of perfection. If I were perfect, I could have my inbox at zero daily and have the body of an atlas and the perfect partner, children, and life. Perfection isn’t reality. At least not mine. So, what do we do? We admit we are not perfect and develop our coping methods.
The myth of inbox zero
- My life would be better if I could empty my inbox daily.
You can empty it by deleting everything that came in, but that is extreme. So instead, you can sort it into action items, read-later items, and reply articles. This doesn’t get you to inbox zero, but it gets rid of the noise and sorts the remainder into three more meaningful groups.
2. Having an empty inbox means that I don’t have anything to do. I got it done.
Boy, talk about fooling yourself. This is the pinnacle of self-delusion. Even if you followed the ideas in step one, you haven’t done it all. Instead, you have recognized that your daily work is limited.
3. Reaching inbox zero means I have reached the productivity summit.
I am productive. Well, guess again. Being productive isn’t a numbers game it is the reality of getting the right things done at the right time and living a balanced life while doing this.
4. Reaching inbox zero means I no longer have any stress in my life.
Inbox 0 does just the opposite it creates stress in your life as you work harder and harder to achieve it. So it is not a stress reducer. Similarly, chasing the pinnacle of productiveness is a stressor.
5. Inbox means I can keep up with the various inputs from everyone around me.
The reality is that there are more people out in the world sending stuff into your inbox than you can absorb.
So, what do we do? First, inbox zero is a myth, especially if you donate to charities or other companies that share your email address. Develop a system that works for you. Spend a limited amount of your precious time reviewing emails. Sort them like that described in item one, then prioritize and work on the action items, read or toss the stack in the read-later bucket (mine currently has 9000+ items in it), and reply to those that need replies.
But remember, only you can control your time. Only you can determine what is essential. You have to set aside time to work on the right tasks at the right time. Forget the myths of inbox zero.