Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Inbox zero: look out, 2015!

It's been a while again.
I know you're shocked. ;)

I'm not usually a New Year's resolution type, but I took advantage of some down time at the end of 2014 to take inventory of my current projects and responsibilities, along with trying to figure out where I'm losing time to inefficiencies (Muda, you lean followers might say).

Part of my regaining equilibrium has involved taming the almighty e-mail inbox. I am not normally prone to clutter; my work e-mail inbox is typically quite tidy, as is my electronic health record inbox. But something about my personal Gmail just got too overwhelming, and for the last couple of years I have just let things pile up. I've lost one too many important messages lately, though, so this past weekend I resolved to tackle the great beast and gain control.

Using Gmail's search function, I created tags to identify and sort everything important. After moving all of those messages into their new folders, I unsubscribed to at least a dozen e-mail feeds that I hadn't made time for in ages and knew I wouldn't miss. I created searches again for each of these and deleted them all en mass. Ditto for searches including the terms "reservation" and "confirmation" (all for events in the past - why was I keeping these?).

After setting up some filters for messages I wanted to archive but not necessarily review immediately (bank statements, etc), I was more than 1/2 way through my 1K+ messages. I scrolled through the rest, sorting out a few things here and there to keep, and voila! 19 messages left. I will create tasks in Pocket Informant for those new messages and then get them archived.

I know that taming my e-mail won't solve everything. But it has helped me to regain a sense of control. Now I am confident that what will come into my inbox is important and won't get lost.

So bring it on, 2015. I'll be ready.

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