Saturday, May 29, 2010

Drowning in Emails

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I love to turn on my computer and hear those lovely words, "YOU'VE GOT MAIL."  It's like getting and opening presents every day."  (Okay, not all emails are fun -- like the ones that start out, "I like it, but..." Or "Here are the revisions for your books..."

DrowninginEmail But I have a hard time letting go of old emails.  In fact, despite the fact I work on eliminating stuff every day, my inbox still has an average of 800 emails in it on any given day.

I save of a lot of these emails because they have links to news articles I don't have time to read.  So I think--I'll save that and read it later.  But then it gets buried under an onslaught of new emails and I forget it's there.

I save emails because I'm supposed to do something about it.  Like a recent request for an Interview.  Only now I can't remember who sent it or what the subject was -- because the sender conveniently FORGOT to put Interview in the subject header.

Finally, I've set up folders for the important things.  Like notes from my agent and editor; fan mail; invoices; notes from friends; notes from readers, etc.  But that hasn't really helped the problem.  Now those notes are just out of sight--out of mind.


Dial up Having this much email isn't a problem when you're on Broadband (except AOL will only allow you to have 1000 in your inbox and then it shuts down your account).  But when you're on Dial-up, as I am when I got to our family cottage to write, then AOL tries to load all 800+ emails and ain't nothing going to open.

Does anyone else have the same mail-hoarding problem?  Were you able to solve it?

14 comments:

Andrea C. said...

I have the opposite problem. I hate when things build up. I erase my messages (or file them in the appropriate folder) as soon as possible. I often get on my phone (land line) and delete the calls on the caller id log. I despise it when too many programs are backed up on my dvr for too long and I periodically delete all my text messages, both received and sent.
Many times, I have deleted too soon and found my self in need of something...

Molly Swoboda said...

Getting e-noises *is* a lot like Christmas and birthday rolled into one. Imagine celebrating those 10-100 times a day. First, change that seductive notification. Find or record one that reflects truth: It should say, "Mooommmm!" or "I'm bored" or "What's for dinner?" or "Here we go again...."

Don't bother organizing the mess. Emails are like ants and don't take well to leadership. Use a benign looking notepad text files labeled "Someday" on your Desktop. Cut and paste the important guts into it and save for whenever some day comes.

Filtering is just a ruse and will buy you no time. You might consider using different addresses that convey subject matter that you can comfortably check once a day or week, reserving your main address for really important stuff.

Lastly, indulge heavily in forgiveness. You're a wonderful writer, thus will forever be stuck with our yappy emails :)

Vicki said...

I do have a bit of an email hoarding problem...I admit it. And to make it twice as bad, I have two email accounts, one "home" and one for work. The work one is easier for me to make deletions because I try to delete things that are not necessary immediately, but what works better is when I home for summer break. Then I know that is a good point to make major deletions since the school year is over. The home one is sadly out of control...I need to try to tame that beast over the summer as well!

Dru said...

I'm so like Andrea C in regards to emails and messages. For those emails that I need to save, I put in folders and when it looks like it's getting full, I'm cleaning it again.

Aimee said...

My name is Aimee and I am a former email hoarder. The phrase "one and done" changed my email life.

It's simple. Touch it once. Do something with it. If you "save it" for later you're not going to do anything with it - you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Just do something with it: answer it or delete it. It feels so much better.

Only pending actions are in my inbox; for example, a Lands End order confirmation. Once the shipping notification arrives, I file the order confirmation in Shopping. Once the package arrives, I delete the shipping notification.

Opening my email no longer makes my stomach hurt.

Mare F said...

Drat, I thought I had until you pointed out that the files really weren't a solution. LOL Nope, I guess I have the same problem.

signlady217 said...

I can't even imagine having that many e-mails in my inbox! If I have more that 10 or so it makes me crazy. I try to clean it out at minimum every week, but at least once a month. But some I just can't delete; they get moved to the "files" folders: scrapbooking, quilting, art, family history/genealogy, etc. But of course once they are there, then it's out of sight, out of mind. (At least they aren't right in my face, which is the good part!)

Anonymous said...

I know! I'm an e-mail pack rat. I had to force myself to clean it up awhile back.If I really wanted to save it(forever), I printed it off,otherwise I read it and deleted.It took forever. I wouldn't recommend this unless a rainy day!And you may have to have your meals catered! I have the same problem with the icons on my desktop.Last night I had a problem with retrieving my mail and thought all was lost--I can't believe I panicked.My husband asked "what was on there u needed"--I had to say "too much for me to remember right now but it was important stuff"--reply"like what?"---me reply"stuff!" This is the time I envy persons with a photographic memory.Is there hope for us? Good post. Kay

Lover of Books said...

I am an email hoarder as well. I have 7 email accounts, don't ask. lol But anyways, I need to go through my emails again and delete if need be. I am horrible about it but then I don't have any groups I am a part of anymore so that cuts down on the email. lol

Krista

tonya kappes said...

I do, but once I made different folders it did help. Like you I get articles I want to read, but then forget about them...ugh!

Helen Kiker said...

Oh this is something that I am guilty of - now have over 8000 emails saved in my inbox dating back to the year 2000. It is fun though reading through some of the old messages especially those from family members. I do try to get the number under 8000.

Anonymous said...

I have gmail and I save every single email. All filed away and archived, just waiting for me to need to search for them. Twitter notification, blog updates, facebook, family, friends, and every things else all safely tucked away and regularly backed up - just in case. Some are even printed out - just in case. Maybe it was better when people just sent letters. Much easier to justify holding onto them.

LuAnn said...

I, too, tend to save just about every email ... thinking I might some day need it again. I'm determined to begin clearing out all my folders and eliminating some of them, but I just haven't been able to bite the bullet yet.

Valerie Consoer said...

I have a little of both problems. Whenever I get an email, I send it to a folder. If the sender fails to put "important" in the subject line or what it's regarding, then that's their fault. If they want a response from me, they need to label the response properly. Therefore, some emails are sent to a specific folder or end up deleted (usually on accident). Just this morning, I was looking for an email that I could have sworn that I saved, but couldn't find it anywhere. After ten minutes of looking in folders, I finally gave up and just got a copy of what I needed. Luckily, I don't get emailed very often at work or at my home email. But whenever I do get an email, I'll admit that I throw a small celebration. Not many people find it necessary to have any kind of contact with me, and I'm fine with that. But when they do, I tend to dance a small jig.
What I do hoard are books, though!