For the last few years, Iāve harbored a miserable secret: Iāve started each day already woefully behind, and the minute I logged on to my computer, it made sure I knew.
ā65 unread messages,ā it whispered in 10-point type. That was back in ā09. ā474 unread messages,ā it confided, circa April 2010. Iām sure I went in at some point and cleared out a few (didnāt I?) but by last week I had tipped over 1,000 and thought, This has got to stop. So today, I got busy cleaning house.
How does someone who checks her email several times a day, who is responsible (relatively), organized (sort of) and well meaning (I try) end up with 1,313 unread messages? Easy. And donāt act like you donāt get it, because I know Iām not in this predicament alone. According to a recent article in The New York Times, unanswered emails are the No. 1 gripe of the net-manners set.
Donāt get me wrong: Emails that require a response get opened and answered promptly (my apologies for the rare exception). But Iām notoriously slow with responding to evites, especially those sent way in advance, and I may not get to that latest joke from my aunt todayā¦ or tomorrowā¦ or this year.
You know what Iām talking about! Between emails from work and actual friends, from my kidsā schools and my kids themselves, from marketers, my neighborhood association, government agencies, charities, political campaigns, Facebook and Twitter, newsletters, my alma maters, appointment confirmations, evites, ecards, echains and retired family members who share every National Geographic photo, motivational poem, YouTube discovery, and prayer for President Obamaās safety and success with me, itāsā¦ a lot.
The upside is that an overflowing inbox can make you feel popular and highly favored. And, on a good day, it can be a treasure trove of good news (āThe baby arrived!ā), useful information (āPass it on: The TSA is hiringā), and happy surprises (You won!). The downside is that it can completely drive you crazy and, untended, it multiplies faster than you can hit āreply.ā So, I donāt. At least, I didnāt. Iād routinely open everything that required a quick response (and, no, it didnāt have to be marked urgent for me to pay attention), Iād delete all unknown senders or dull subjects, and Iād skim past the rest, leaving their highlights intact, with the best of intentions to return when I had time. But that time never came. Until today!
Now, as Eleanor Roosevelt once encouraged: Iāve done the thing I thought I could not do and it feels great!
In the process, not only did I clear my electronic clutter and my guilty conscience, I acquired some worthwhile info, including my old friend Dotās ānewā contact info (from 18 months ago) and I laughed out loudāa lot! Aunt Joy: Keep those ejokes coming!