My New Year’s Resolution – White Inbox Every Night

I’m setting myself a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2009.

They’ll also be New Years’ Resolutions. Note the apostrophe placement because some of these things are just too good for only one year.

One of them relates to email.

Email is a blessing and a curse for me. Recently – OK, for the last few years actually – I’ve been trying to reform my approach to it in order to get more and better stuff done in a working day.

Some of this includes

  • Not “living” in email (because it takes me away from project domain into message domain)
  • Processing it all in one big batch, two or three times a day where possible
  • Then while I am looking at it, deleting junk and spam on sight
  • Ditching fiddly folders and just using one archive folder because search is all you need
  • Transferring stuff to a paper to-do list or some more appropriate medium
  • Phoning people instead

Additionally

  • I use Thunderbird so to speed things up I’ve got Quicktext (for quick fire templates of readymade “cheat” replies) and Buttons so I can have a lovely massive “Archive this!” button (like the one in Gmail).

So aptly enough, I just spotted this tweet on Twitter from @billt and @suw linking to a new pledge on Pledgebank (built by mySociety who are doing several rather neat things with the web).

I had no problem with the spirit of the pledge. Email was designed for sending and receiving messages. It is not a to-do list – it wasn’t designed for that.

Now and again though there could be a day when I’d need the freedom NOT to check email, so I was initially reluctant to sign.

Then I realised, with some prompting, that this was about inbox rather than pop box. The distinction is important. In other words, if I don’t want to look at email for one day (which is possible and desirable once in a while!), then I can keep to the pledge by not downloading any email at all.

Here we go.

Between you and me I’ll be keeping the pledge whether or not they hit the target number of signatures. But if you fancy joining me – or rather, us, because in this wired world you might as well take full advantage of sincere encouragement on offer from absolute strangers – then you can sign up.

I’ll probably be spending less time on email now, somewhat freeing me to make curries and also visit new places. Incidentally, both of these plans form the essence of a couple of other resolutions.

The Pledgebank system just sent me an email – to confirm my signature on the pledge. Which is a rather apt but not entirely helpful start…

2 Comments

  1. Posted 28 Ionawr 2009 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    Great post. Inbox Zero is a much better way to live than keeping messages hanging around. I find it makes me act on things much quicker because I want to go back to that empty inbox as soon as possible.

  2. Inders
    Posted 26 Chwefror 2009 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Getting things done, David Allen.

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  1. [...] in January I made a resolution to leave my inbox empty every night. I have partially succeeded. It’s forcing me to make those little decisions. It’s a lot [...]