Ever heard of e-mail bankruptcy? It’s what happens when you give up on cleaning out your inbox and just delete everything and start over. This little article talks about the peculiarity of e-mail and how it tends to pile up. Ironically, I spent two hours last night pairing my inbox down from 400+ messages to three (I should say my main inbox–I’ve pretty much given up on the 10+ other inboxes I have).
My biggest failures with e-mail are my desire to keep every single e-mail (necessitating a ridiculously long chain of folders for every client and source) and my inability to act immediately on e-mail. I let it sit there, deciding to deal with it later–which usually means three months later when it’s one of hundreds. Every time I clean out my inbox I try to deal with e-mail as it comes and not let it pile up again, but inevitably I’m seized by indecision and decide to deal with one later, and then another later, and then pretty soon I’m stacking ’em up again.
Seems there should be a way I can take my own advice and make life easier for myself.
All of which makes me wonder about the very existence of e-mail. I can’t imagine doing business (especially business at home) without it. I entered the work force when e-mail was standard–I’ve never known anything else (I have used IM at various times, but it’s never replaced e-mail).
But I also wonder about the next generation, for whom e-mail is strange and archaic, the way I think of a telegram. Your average teen only uses e-mail to talk to old people. Does that mean they just haven’t yet adapted, or e-mail is going to go the way of the telegram, and quickly? Because as much as we may be drowning in e-mail, drowning in instant messages seems much, much worse. (link via kottke.org)