The Challenge: Emptying My Inbox

I'm not sure if I can do this but I am so going to challenge myself. Next Friday, I'm leaving for Australia (whee!). I'm one of those people that has work on the brain pretty much 24x7. It's not usually a stress thing, it's just how I am; always thinking. I come up with some of my best ideas or decisions in the shower or while I am driving.

Part of my trip is work, part is play. So I do plan on checking in every few days (which I think will not make my manager happy because she likes us to unplug completely, but that would actually make it harder for me to relax). Plus, I'll be blogging my trip. So I'll be online. Not really working but just seeing what's going on.

One of the things that I thought would help me is to eliminate all the old stuff in my inbox. I'm generally pretty good about touching e-mail once (filing and deleting are my favorites), so mostly all that's left are the mails I have to do something with. And there are about 100 of them. Can I get through all of them so I leave for my trip with a squeaky clean inbox? Or am I just kidding myself?

I have a lot of other things to do to prep for my trip and I am sure I am forgetting something. Can I do it?

Comments (15)

  1. Rockpaperscissors says:

    Hello.  This doesn’t really pertain to your post but I have a question you may be able to shed some light on.  I was recently contacted by a recruiter for an associate product manager position at Microsoft.  I passed the the phone interview and received an email from another recruiter discussing the Redmond interview.  Both the person who contacted me for the logistics and my contact person for the interview in a couple weeks are staffing contractors.  The interview will also be in the RedWest Campus Building A and not the infamous Building 19.  Is this unusual?  It seems incongruous with what I have seen online regarding the interview process.  I’m not necessarily worried, I’m just curious.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Nope, not unusual at all. So don’t worry. We use contractors to schedule the interviews. And some of our recruiters sit with their hiring groups. So if the group you are interviewing is in RedWest, it’s not at all unusual that the recruiter sits there as well.

    You can always stop by building 19 to check it out if you want.

  3. I think you can do it. I used to have a bad case of inbox procrastination. It wasn’t hundreds long, it was more like 3-4 that would sit in the inbox for months on end. Then about a month ago I was convinced that the empty inbox is the way to go. Cuts down the clutter and at least makes you feel like you’re on top of everything, even though sometimes you aren’t.

  4. tod hilton says:

    Well, you have half of the GTD email process down. You just need to work on the other half. 🙂 Embrace the 4 Ds and your inbox will always be close to 0.

    Good luck and have a great trip! Me == Jealous

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Michael H – yes, the months old e-mail. I have a few of those!

    tod – thanks!

  6. patblue says:

    I love it Fling  and delete!  I have 13 maximum email in my inbox that Annsh taught me (your inbox shouldn’t have a scroll bar).  I think this keeps me sane, it also keeps me from ‘overworking’.  However I am at 51 today.  I have some work to do obviously.

    Australia sounds cool, I check my email on vacation simply because I am curious, though I have a strict rule never to hit the reply key until I land back in Seattle.

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Wow, I can go to a meeting and have more than 13 come in. I like the idea of not having a scroll bar. I’m totally ruthless today, going through my inbox. I keep saving all these things in e-mail that I want to blog about but the fact that I haven’t done it yet makes me think that I’m not going to. So I am deleting like crazy.

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    Down to about 45 but I have a bunch of stuff to do out of the office.

  9. Wine-Oh says:

    Heather- Are you connected to work via a electronic monitoring device (AKA a Blackberry), where you can check e mail when you are away from your desk?

  10. Laura says:

    Hi Heather,

    Love your blog!  I’ve read it for quite a while and really ejoy it.

    I recently started working on the "zero" inbox after listening to a Podcast by Stever Robbins – "The get it done guy".

    Episode 2 is all about how to empty your inbox and keep it that way.

    It has been a great change.  I don’t feel so tired and dragged out everytime I look at my mail.

    Thanks again for your blog and have fun in Australia.  


  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    No scroll bar! No scroll bar! Woo hoo!

  12. patblue says:

    Have you taken the class ‘take back your life’?  They tought me great email management skills back when, so much so I think I am going to take it again to refresh.

    NO scroll bar!


  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    I took that one we have internally, with that consultant guy….oh, I forget what it was called but it helped. For me it’s just a matter of actually doing it.

    Now that I am sans scroll bar, I am challenging myself to keep it that way. Kind of scared to step away and take a shower but I will force myself 🙂

  14. patblue says:

    You silly

    you have to institute checkpoints in your day – don’t be compulsive about it.

    ‘Scroll bar must be present at 12pm, 4pm, and 6pm’…that is more manageable and takes the stress and OCD out of always having to check it.

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh no! That is not simple though! I probably live in Outlook way more than the average person.

    Really, I am at 24 mails right now.

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