HomeHome : News : Oct 23, 2006

The Bottomless Inbox

October 23, 2006 — by Per Christensson

It often seems like my e-mail inbox has no bottom. There is simply no end to the virtual stack of messages that pile up in my inbox. While I may spend hours reducing the load, it is sure to increase back to the same size in only a matter of days. At times, keeping up with e-mail seems like an insurmountable task.

I remember 10 years ago, in 1996, when I did not have an e-mail address. (I know it is hard to believe, but there was a time when e-mail did not exist.) The only messages I received were letters from the postman, which are now befittingly dubbed snail mail. These messages came only a few times a year, mostly around my birthday and Christmas. Now, on average, I receive a few messages every hour via e-mail. This astronomical increase in correspondence requires a daily commitment to my inbox in order to stay current.

Granted, having seven e-mail accounts and running several websites makes my situation especially laborious. Therefore, I must be extra diligent in keeping up with my e-mail correspondence. The current stack of messages in my inbox indicates I could be doing a better job. While the task is challenging, I believe it is possible. My inbox is far from empty, but it has not increased in size during the past few months. While I do need to put some extra effort in reducing the number of messages, this shows that it is possible to keep my inbox from getting out of control.

While I have yet to fully master my inbox, I have learned a few strategies for keeping current with my e-mail correspondence. If you find yourself struggling to keep a clean inbox, following these e-mail management guidelines may help.