Managing Mail Imperfectly

Managing Mail Imperfectly, a post from June 2000 2007 by Khoi Vinh, that has me sigh in relief that I am not the only one not buying the empty inbox theory. I stumbled across it while reading his Subscribing to RSS Theory post in which he compares RSS readers to junk drawers. Had me chuckle and nod in agreement.

2 Comments leave a comment below

  1. thanks for the link. it seems khoi’s managing mail… post is from june 2007, not 2000. 7 years mean a lot in the internent universe ;)

  2. I think the post is missing the point of Inbox Zero. It’s not about managing mail perfectly or keeping a fancy hierarchy of folders, it’s about only seeing an email once and taking the appropriate action. Keeping the inbox empty is pretty easy when there’s only a couple actions an email can prompt: delete, file, reply immediately, or take a note about an action I need to take (then file). For me, “file” means dump in a folder called “Archive.” I use search if I need to find an old email.

    The problem with keeping everything in your inbox is that you tend to use emails as your action reminders. This means you need to keep looking over a list of emails, then remember which actions each needed. It’s a lot of wasted mental energy and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks.