Cutting your inbox in half is awesome! I’m sure 676 still feels overwhelming, but that’s a pretty big accomplishment after it’s gotten away like that.
I can’t help but think that it’s a big deal how that work happened though. Was it just a lot of culling by swiping them away? Or did it feel like so much work because a lot of them had to be actually answered? Or was there some management happening along the way – unsubscribing and adjusting notification settings so that the inbox doesn’t itself ballooning again with little value.
In the back of your mind when looking at every email you should be a little voice: was this email important for me to see? Do I want to keep getting emails like this? If not, how can I bow out of them? Remember when you aren’t overwhelmed by email, you can start using it to a higher potential.
Like many people, the phone is a tool of last resort. I’d rather text or Slack or email or carrier pigeon. But I’ve noticed that many of the most successful, productive people I’ve met are what you might call “phone-prone.” If you send them a text, they call you instead of texting back. Email them? Get a call back.
I’m on board that phone calls can be the best connection with people with the potential for the biggest outcomes. No wonder everybody and their brother wants to hop on a quick call.
For me, it’s just a time thing. I have an absolute shitload of work to do, and I literally can’t do it if I’m on the phone all day. A catch-22 though. I wish I was successful enough that I had less operational work to do and could spend more time on strategy and partnerships and such, the things that phone calls excel at. Perhaps my own phone aversion limits that success.
One thing that tends to gravitate me back toward Gmail is that I’ve piped now two decades of email into there and the search on Gmail I find quite fast and good. I search for emails from years and years ago all the time, at least weekly if not daily.
While other apps have lured me away, I find they do so via really nice UI and flows for incoming email. But they don’t do much for search. It’s either slow, not as comprehensive, or both.
I’m afraid I’m not terribly technically saavy about email in this way. Could I and should I have an offline backup of my entire email archives? Could a local email client, like Mail.app, do that for me such that the search in that native client was as comprehensive as the web Gmail client?
For me, there isn’t one. I think the social contract of email response time for random inquiries is maybe someday. I might just wait months if it takes me that long to have interest in what you are saying. Or you might get a reply in 30 seconds if I’m stoked to hear from you.
Of course that changes based on the relationship dynamic between the sender and receiver. An email from your co-worker or boss asking you a question has a different social contract, and the only way to know what it is is experience with those people.
I had a feeling this blog post existed. I just Googled “Marie Kondo Email” and it was the first result. Marie Kondo has been kinda famous for a while for writing about tidying up your space. But super extra famous lately because of the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.
Does it spark joy? No. Get rid of it.
That’s the vibe. People relate to it. I certainly do. We all want permission to get rid of crap. Every time we do it feels good. So no wonder people are applying that logic to their emails. No more guilt about unsubscribing to stuff and ruthlessly cleaning house. Marie Kondo gave us permission. These emails are no longer sparking joy.
Marie Grace Garis details all these emails she gets that certainly aren’t sparking joy:
… when all was said and done, I removed myself from 23 mailing lists just by being emotionally honest with myself. And that makes sense for a life lived online; there’s still so many reminders of who I once was. And whether digital or physical, being true to yourself and what gives you joy is still the route of what will clear up your world.