My relationship with email has changed dramatically over time. In middle and high school getting an email was as exciting as a letter in the mailbox. In college I had it open almost constantly, answering emails as they came in. I only deleted junk mail, leaving everything else in the inbox so I could find it.
After I married Andrew I was introduced to the concept of Inbox Zero. He archived everything (still does), figuring he could just search for it later. Well that seriously stressed me out. How would I even remember that I was supposed to search for it?
My respond as emails come in and leave them where they are worked through my first year or so of motherhood. Then Emily started to “check her email” on her rocks. I knew I needed to change. I stopped working on the computer when she was awake and only glanced at the most relevant/important emails that I saw via notifications.
Over time I realized I LOVED not being connected. I would go two or three or five days without really taking care of my inbox. Because I was glancing at things as they came in, I stopped responding almost entirely to emails or incredibly late. I started loosing emails, dropping responsibilities, and became genuinely scared of my email.
When I hit 36 or 37 weeks pregnant with Nathan I decided I would clear out my inbox. I had around 15,000 emails. I deleted the junk email, unsubscribed from email lists I no longer cared about, and created labels to sort everything out by era (Des Moines, Canada, Bettendorf, BYU, Indiana). I also added a category for pictures, recipes, specific people, church responsibilities, and receipts. I sorted through everything while watching Person of Interest with Andrew, had a baby, and continued my old pattern of glancing at emails, leaving them where they are at, and not responding. It was burst of anxiety every time I thought it about it (which was not very often – I loved the facade of being freed from my email).
When I signed up for the Mind Organizations for Moms course the very first step was tackling your email inbox. I was skeptical and a bit nervous, but immediately started listening to the podcast explaining the process (while washing dishes, because April Perry knows we don’t have time to stare at our computer screens) and printed out the PDF with all the steps outlined. She laid out the system so clearly – set up these five labels in your email (Action, Immediate Action, Waiting, Someday, Incubation) and walk through a simple process to put every email in its place. She warned the first 100-200 would be the hardest because they are current. She was right, but once I got passed that it was relatively smooth sailing, especially because I only had 3,000 to sort since my initial purge waiting for Nathan to arrive.
I still have the same habit of ignoring my email and only really sit down every 7-10 days to truly process what is there. HOWEVER in 10 minutes I have achieved Zero Inbox, I know exactly what action steps I need to take and what gets top priority, and everything else is completely off the brain. I first mentioned the Mind Organization for Moms course in November when I was just starting out. I’ve been following the process to keep my inbox clean for the last two and a half months and now I feel truly liberated and in control from my email. This first step (of 8!) and I gratefully give it five stars.
I was given the Mind Organization for Moms course in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.