Does inbox cleanliness have anything to do with actual email productivity?

I’m tempted to say: yes, of course, absolutely.

But I’m not entirely sure.

My wife is a good example. I wouldn’t call her inbox a mess, but from the glimpses I get of it, there are an awful lot of unread emails in there. I don’t get the sense that she spends all that much time on inbox cleanliness. Yet, if I email her, I tend to get a response in like 3 minutes. She’s fast, and I’d call that a trait of email productivity.

I’d like to correct my own thinking on this, and not make sure peddle an idea that you have to have a super clean inbox in order to be good at email. I think I’ll be able to unearth more about this once I get into doing more interviews. If you have thoughts though, I’d love to hear them.

Is it possible to highly productive with email but have a messy inbox?

1 Comment

  1. > Is it possible to highly productive with email but have a messy inbox?

    Email is just a dumb pipe to transfer messages.
    Actually your inbox messness is not really matter (imho) because email is not a tool like Reminders or Things where you manage your tasks, or describe your plans like in Notes.
    Also maybe you use texting things like iMessage or Signal, you have a phone that rings periodically and people on the other side correct plans and you should correct your tasks and notes.
    So I say yes as the answer to your question.
    The way you manage your tasks and plans is really matter. Just stop manage inbox and spent that time to a really important things. 🙂

    (Also, an email is just a file, so you can attach it to your tasks. Since every email (message) contains all context that cause this message in quotas you got all information you need for your task. And also you can attach multiple emails to other your email, or to your tasks, or notes. Maybe it’s nothing new for you, but for me it’s a huge timesaver.)

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