How much does inbox.emails.length matter?

One of the things I’d like to root out about people’s relationship to email is whether having email hanging around in your inbox is actually a problem or not.

Is there a fairly universal answer to this? Are people with 10,000 emails in their inbox bad at email? As in… Are they stressed? Do they miss emails causing problems for them? Do they get as much value out of email as anyone else?

And for those that, whether through metholodogy or otherwise, keep a totally empty inbox… Are they stressed, perhaps through the work of keeping it that way? Do they lose track of communication, perhaps through cracks in the triaging? Do they get as much value out of email as anyone else?

And for the people in the middle. My homies with 3-12 emails in there seemingly all the time. What problems and benefits live there?

It seems like Inbox Zero (on the surface, and any methodology that advocates empty inboxes) sounds smart in theory. It’s organized! No clutter! You aren’t staring at future work all the time stressing you out! You’ve put appropriate work in places it can be done, perhaps, most efficiently! You haven’t put off answering the easy ones. Etc. But is it? Really? How can we know this?

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