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Deleting Everything Is Not A Solution For Your Overflowing Email Inbox

I casually announced on Twitter and Facebook yesterday that I had 600 emails to get through before my inbox was empty. The most popular response? I should select everything and hit delete. This is why I didn’t.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Yes, I get that most of those comments were made with tongue at least partially in cheek. Nonetheless, the notion that it’s easier to delete everything after a holiday break was surprisingly prevalent.

There are circumstances where declaring email bankruptcy can make sense. However, coming back to work after 10 days off is not one of those times. I always knew that there would be a backlog of messages to check on my return, and I scheduled some time accordingly.

Sorting through the messages actually didn’t take that long. I used my long-standing approach of sorting everything by sender and had the entire thing cleared in around an hour.

Inbox zero isn’t for everyone. If you’re happy to have messages stacked up in your inbox and ignore them until someone asks about them, that can be a reasonable approach. But I’ll take the satisfaction of knowing I’ve dealt with everything I need to and have more time to deal with the next unexpected message.


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