7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty
These days, with ever increasing email volumes, most of us are leaving more and more emails in the inbox. Just today I worked with a group of business owners and managers whose average number of emails in the inbox is 4687. Each! Per person!
It seems that we either don’t have the time to address them all, or know quite how to make a decision on the action required or don’t know where to move them to . . . so we leave them in the inbox.
But there are many good reasons why it would be better to keep the inbox empty and this blog series aims to explain at least 7 of those reasons. Why not take a look at these ideas and put at least one of them into action so that you feel (and are actually) in more control of your inbox. See part 1 of this series below.
Love to hear your thoughts after considering these ideas.
All the best!
#1: An overloaded inbox causes stress
The inbox is often filled with a backlog of weeks or months of old work yet to be accomplished, messages that need a reply (including an apology for being so tardy), and irrelevant messages that have to be weeded out.
Even if none of the emails require any action, they are still ‘unfinished business’, which require filing or deleting at some point in the future, (either by you or the IT department).
This backlog of unfinished email creates a ‘psychological drag’ that slows down your mental clarity and focus. Many report feelings of being overwhelmed, guilty and ‘out-of-control’ - there’s often a nagging, subconscious sense you’re not keeping up with everything, that your work is never up-to-date, and that you’re constantly playing ‘catch up’.
How much email causes stress?
In a 2010 Harris Interactive survey, 94% of people said the most amount of e-mail they can receive before feeling some degree of stress is 50 messages. So, how many are sitting in your inbox right now?
By contrast, an empty inbox is a delight to look at - it makes you feel empowered, calm, in control and up-to-date. It improves your morale. You have time, energy and mental space for higher priorities, creative tasks and meaningful engagement with colleagues and clients.
Next in this series of 7 Reasons to Keep the Inbox Empty looks at #2: Avoids multiple handling of e-mails