Project ‘inbox to zero’ begins

inbox1My motto is ‘postive, not perfect’ and, at the risk of laying myself uncomfortably bare for you lovely readers,  I thought it might be fun to write a few blogs on just how imperfect some areas of my life are and how I attempt to tackle them in a positive way.

Let’s start with my inbox.

At the time of writing, my main email account shows 898 unread emails (that’s just from this month!), and my secondary email account has 498 unread emails. That’s not including the read emails that have been starred for attention but lost amongst the noise of the other stars and the unreads.

It’s a mess. A mess that makes me feel horribly inauthentic as a coach (so much so that I’m already questioning whether or not I can actually post this!), and I can feel it draining my energy on a daily basis. Emails occasionally get lost, information I need is hard to find, and I hate the idea of people seeing the little app icon on my phone with that little red number reading embarrassingly high.

So how come I’ve got so much stuff in my inbox? Obviously, I’m just incredibly popular and in demand (ahem!) but I also am a sucker for signing up for interesting newsletters and blogs, ignoring those social media notifications that come through and getting a few of those direct salesy emails that I don’t delete often enough. And so I end up with over 1000 items of email clutter to get rid of.

This week is half term and I’m staying with my girls at my dad and step mum’s house in Devon for a few days. I won’t be working much and it seemed like the perfect time to zap those pesky emails into oblivion. Last night, I read a couple of related articles on the subject: 5 ways to reduce your email overwhelm, and an inspiring Lifehacker review of a potentially useful tool called Mailstrom, but found myself about to be overwhelmed by advice and so got some shut-eye instead.

I woke up today and decided to post this blog at the very beginning of my journey, setting out the problem but without really knowing how I was going to start. But then isn’t that often the bit you really want to know about? Not ‘what I did about x’? I know I do! In the hope that you do too, dear reader, here it is. Not a polished blog post like I’d normally send out, but an honest one, written whilst my kids are getting louder and louder downstairs so I’m aware of having very little time left. Here is my starting out place. I need to go and rescue my parents from my hungry kids now. I start tonight. I’ll let you know how I get on.



Project ‘inbox to zero’ begins — 5 Comments

  1. Good for you, Claire. The wide open space of a mind at rest when all is in the right place and we know there is nothing to do right now (as opposed to the uncomfortable feeling that there may be something important buried in the trivial but how would we know…?) is a joy. Having been an enthused but amateur follower of Getting Things Done the Inbox to zero is something I have managed to maintain sporadically and makes me wonder why I don’t always do it. The peace and pleasure is akin to the silence when a nearby car alarm is not going off!

    • Thanks Sarah. I love the car alarm analogy! I’m looking forward to having my inbox blare free.

  2. Hi Claire,

    What an honest post! Very cool of you to share this. I have a few tips:

    1) I learnt that between 1950 and 1999 as much written and digital information was produced as is now produced every 24 hours! can you believe it? All those blogs/ newspapers/ webinars/ forums/ facebook/ebooks/ actual books/ magasines/twitter etc etc. I love this face as it made me realise that we are all producers of far too much info and expect others to read it, although they are overwhelmed and like us, only have 24 hours in the day.

    2) Other peoples newsletters- I went on an information diet after the face above and unsubscribed to all the newsletters I got- however enigmatic and cool, interesting and zany they were. The people will still be there, and i can remember the interesting once by name easily. The others, not so much. It really free’s you mind and it’s not like you cant go back on the list. You will never had time to read all the info, never! Even if it’s all you did all day. Start deleting and then you can let your real inner wisdm and voice come to the fore, not some male American coach or bonkers sales woman from New Orleans!

    3) Notes from the universe are great but they are too frequent in my opinion, they were the first thing to go and I use a nice inspiration book kept on the desk if I am ever stuck for a quote or a perk up.

    4) I think less is more- I now write a newsletter once in a blue moon, it gets read by my list as i am not overwhelming them and make it interesting enough and they won’t forget you, even if you don’t email them 600 times a week. 😉

    5) Be strong, delete and repeat! I am jealous of your cluttered inbox, I’d love to come and help you! I love the delete button far too much!

    Big hugs! I think your sharing is wonderful! freeing in the best possible way! xx

    • Thanks for your fabulous comment, Ruth. Wow – that fact about information then and now is hard hitting! I’ve unsubscribed from lots of the newsletters I got, but can’t bring myself to go cold turkey! There are some that I love – particularly Notes from the Universe (did you know, incidentally, that you can choose which days you receive those?) – but if I find myself frequently deleting without reading them, I’ll unsubscribe from them too. My inbox is still cluttered, but a lot less so than before – I’ll post an update soon x

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