I read an article in linkedin recently which said that the search for a Zero Inbox was fruitless, that simply there are too many emails, that it is better to use the automatic search function … and that email won’t last much longer anyway.

(I read some of these articles with a pinch of salt. I remember one urging me to take on the habit of keeping Outlook open all the time and answering immediately in order to get “a good reputation.” Yes … and you’ll end up working to the dance of others’ inputs and not from your outputs, which makes you vulnerable, not to mention a few distasteful health effects you’ll be taking on. What is needed are strict policies on email use.)

With respect to the search function last week I received an email with the following Subject line: ‘Performance aids left by participant in training room yeasterday’.

I wrote that myself the day after a course in September 2017 to explain that I would pass by the company the following week with the performance aids that had been left.

The email last week was to reserve a course in May.

If the receiver of your email does not change the original Subject when writing to you, how can the search function tell you that the information you need is in an email with another Subject line?

I prefer to carry on with my five-a-day opening of Outlook, my Deal With (which includes filing), Delete, Delay (my Action B file: important not urgent) so that the saying “Untidy desk (aka Inbox), untidy mind” is not true in my case.

On the other hand, what is to come in the future?: more ‘tools to make life easier’. Ah yes … I speculate that all these new ways to help us ‘communicate’ that will replace email are driven by one word, ‘Urgency’ (or worse, ‘Immediacy’).

Who doesn’t have difficulties these days defining the word ‘urgent’ and distinguishing it from ‘important’? This is one of the major challenges of today – to work according to what you get paid for.

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