Almost two months ago I decided to attack the unprocessed messages in my inbox in a serious way, tracking the number of messages at the beginning and end of each day and doing my best to make headway in what was once a swamp of one thousand, nine hundred, and forty one (1,941) messages!
I am happy to report that I have made a lot of progress:
As of this evening I am down to nine hundred and eighty six (986) messages. Every one of those messages have been dealt with as fully as possible. None have been converted into TODO list items (a sneaky GTD trick that I don’t understand and which seems like cheating or creating another problem of the same size as the first).
In addition to processing the dozens of new messages which come in each day, I have managed to handle another 18 existing messages. Not huge progress, but progress nonetheless. At the very least, I allocate sufficient time each day to make sure that I am not falling further behind. I may not make any progress, but I don’t regress either. Another 5 or 6 weeks (because things do slow down in the summer) and I’ll be at zero.
Tracking makes all the difference. Knowing where I stand everyday (even if it is in a half-drained swamp) is comforting, as is knowing that I have made even a tiny bit of progress. I wonder if a model like this could help me to lose some weight?
This whole exercise may seem trivial, but it is a huge psychological weight off of my shoulders. After I finish with this inbox, I will tackle my personal one along with my LinkedIn requests.