Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Inbox Stress. Oy.

I receive a ridiculous amount of emails everyday. When I'm sitting at my desk all day and opening each email as it come in, it doesn't seem like much. When I'm sitting on the beach all the day and leave my Blackberry at the house, it's overwhelming.

I've never once ordered a single item from Bluefly. Do I really need daily emails from them? Do I need to be signed up for each and every newsletter NYMag publishes? Or Daily Candy? Or Food Network? When was the last time I printed a recipe (two weeks ago) and actually cooked it (um...)?

And that's just my personal email account. In addition to that, I have my work account, my Working Girl account and a super secret account. Yes, I have a super secret account. An account so secret that I forgot the password. Awesome.

The problem with me, my email accounts and all of the aforementioned emails is that nothing stresses me out more than having a number next to "Inbox." That number could be 3,434 or 3. It is so stressful to me. So every time an email pops up I have to open it.

Before I learned what archiving was I kept every single email. Talk about stressful. After over two years of working, I've finally developed a decent system for organizing my work emails. I still read them as soon as they come in but I do one of the following with each:

  1. Delete
  2. File
  3. Respond and File
  4. Keep in Inbox
The items in my inbox only remain there until I gather the information I need to respond. I typically try to accomplish this within a day or two.

Simple enough, right?

As simple as it is, it still took me nearly two hours to go through all my emails from vacation and I've yet to find a way to translate this to my personal accounts. I guess step one is to unsubscribe myself from all the newsletters I don't even read.


Erica said...

Definitely unsubscribe from newsletters! I find that if I subscribe to RSS feeds instead, it keeps it top of mind, but a little bit more at my leisure.

Or, you may want to set up some "rules" that shuffles the email to another folder, so it's not overwhelming, and maybe have it delete after a few days.

Playful Professional said...

I've got my Outlook inbox at work sorted into like a hundred different folders so that I know exactly what everything is. And I do the same thing with my emails in my inbox...they stay there until I've responded or take care of them. It makes me feel so much more organized.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I'm the exact same way!! I have my work email forwarded to my hotmail and my blackberry and I HATE having unread emails!! SO stressful!

I like your system though, I usually open it, briefly read it and then get distracted and forget about it, oy!

I don't have any recommendations for avoiding the stress though since I have the same problem!!

Mandy said...

I'm not the only one! I hate having unread e-mails in my inbox.

Marie said...

I'm horrible at keeping my various inboxes organized. I think if I went through them and tried to back file I'd be at it for a week straight! Best of luck to you!

Caz said...

I am in love with filtering things away from my inbox (such as newsletters etc.) That way my inbox can stay at 0 and then I get around to reading them (or hitting "mark all as read") every week or so.

But I too am totally neurotic about this!

Jane Hamilton said...

I know what you mean! All those newsletters...What were we thinking when we subscribe to them?! That we will suddenly use all that information to become better people or something?!?!?

So, 'unsubscribe' is the way to go...

Good Luck!

Mel-Rox said...

I have 4 e-mail accounts. One of them is a work account and I also have a blackberry (aka crackberry). I still receive e-mail at all three of my personal accounts. I'm trying to narrow it down but it doesn't seem to be working.

E-mails are evil.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand!!! I went on vacation and I had like 60 some emails! Hence why I have 2 email accounts.

My GMail is really for the newsletter and the coupons because they definitely help when you are supposed to be working but you are online shopping!

My work/school email is for the serious stuff. I subscribe to newsletters but they are pertaining to my job in some way. Working at a university you get so many emails you don't want to fork through the other BS either.

E said...

Uh I am the same way! I hate to let them pile up! And I second the bluefly thing. I get an email from them everyday! And I have never nor will I probably ever purchase something from them.... Hope you had a good vacation though!

Ms. Attitude said...

I know all about the email stress with the inbox! I get so much spam on my work and personal accounts. It's a good thing that my blog account only gets good things from good people.

christinamg said...

I never use my work email address for any online things. That would drive me crazy thinking all those emails were work!! Yikes!

For my work emails, I have them in my inbox until I have completed it and then move it to a folder. I have a million folders but at least they are not in my inbox. Inboxes stress me out!!!

Good luck organizing. :-)

Sassy Molassy said...

I'm so bad with emails. I feel like I have to keep them so I don't dare loose any important info, especially the work emails. My inbox is so full it's not funny. You would cringe to know the number. I'd love to get it down to 100 or so manageable emails.

DeMo said...

That's a wake-up call! I like Erica's idea of the RSS feed or the rules for what folder an email gets moved to.

Although with RSS feeds, especially if you use Google Reader, you might have the same panic problem seeing all the Unread posts, and you'll be back to where you started! But fortunately now GR has a feature that hides the number of Unread Items.

LawGirl said...

I finally unsubscribed from a million newsletters when I got my blackberry. I couldn't believe how many unnecessary emails I got!

Jen Hiro said...

the email inbox is the bane of my working existence. all the cc and bc inundate my inbox.

i like your systematic way of shuffling the email about (just about the same way i sift my emails!). it's not easy being a secretary, but someone has to do it!

Charis said...

Ugh I feel your pain! I get so much junk email, AND my work email is always forwarded to my personal account just in case I need to get something while I'm out of the office. I hate missing even a day of checking my email! (not to mention Monday mornings, ugh)

SarahBeth said...

I organize my emails in EXACTLY the same way! I think most people just keep them in their inbox indefinitely which makes me feel anxiety just thinking about it! :-)

Your Stressed Life said...

I always process an email when it comes. I delete, respond or file. If I leave anything in the inbox it bothers me so I like to deal with it right away!