Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Inbox - Brag or Confess

When I was checking my email the other day, one of my co-workers gasped at the amount of mail in my inbox.

I must confess it is astronomical. I belong to so many egroups and organizations, and also network with so many people in the writing business, I can't read all the messages I receive each day. What I usually do is delete junk mail first, then go to the quick messages, then save ones I have to think about or which will take longer to read. The problem is lots of times I never get to those messages I wanted to read. They just keep piling up. That's sad because I do remember a few years ago I was hung up and hunting down the 2 unread messages I couldn't find in my inbox and were probably junkmail placed in a spot I'd already bypassed.

I didn't mention that I also save lots of my mail after I've read it, instead of deleting it.

Can you guess how many unread messages I have in my inbox as of this moment? I'll leave the answer here tomorrow.

What about your inbox? Are you behind with reading your messages, or do you diligently keep up with them? Do you delete most of them after you've read them? Please brag or confess.


  1. I keep up with them - even though it's hundreds a day. Like you, I delete junk first. Things that need my attention later, I've learned to flag!! That has saved me many a time. Things like notification of someone new following me on Twitter I leave unread until I'm ready to do all of those at once.
    I save for awhile, but once every other month, I alphabetize the whole mess and delete big batches at once!

    I will gander 398 unreads in your box...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. I try and keep up with them, even though I have three different laptops I have to use at one with internet mail and mail from two different company's that I come under.

    In the IT world, you snooze you lose, and with an outsource transition going on, if I miss it I'm not going to get it back. Mind you that also can be said for writers mail..


  3. Diane's answer is not even close.

  4. Morgan, if your mail is anything like mine, you probaly get about 1100 a day-am I close?

    My method is similar to yours-I go through and delete junk. If it is a slow day, I'll read all the group message subject lines and flag the ones I want to come back to. On busy days, I delete all group emails except from 2-3 groups that I always keep up with.

    Next, I answer all personal email-otherwise, I'd probaly run out of time. Then answer group messages that require a comment. That leaves blog anouncements and other "links" that need checked-those I sometimes get behind on.

  5. LOL, Morgan. I am just as bad about not clearing my mailbox. My kids, who help me with computer issues, are always trying to help me get more organized about how I do mail. I try to make the folders and move the mail, but that seems to take up so much time. :-0 And I have messages saved that are months old.

  6. Hi Morgan, I create folders in my e-mail box and everything gets sorted... after the junk is deleted.


  7. Anonymous4:35 PM

    I get hundreds a day, and like you I prioritize which ones to pay attention to first and which ones to come back later to. I keep up with it all pretty well, I'm at my desk writing most every day all day, so it's not as hard for me as someone holding down a 9 to 5'er.

  8. Your blog could have been written by me today! Try as I may I just can't stay caught up unless I let the time I spend working on my second novel slide. I tend to not delete mail either - but know I should. Right now I'm down to only 42 unread messages. Can't wait to see what your count is tomorrow!

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  9. I try to keep up with the email, otherwise they take on a life of their own. I get a certain satisfaction from delting the obvious junk mail, read and save the most important or newsletters I may want to re-read or reference...yeah, right, the article I am looking for will jump right out of the massive file... All in all I stay pretty much on top of it. I keep seperate email account for seperate areas of my life too which sometimes makes things a little easier to organize and prioritize.

    Great blog!

    NA Sharpe

  10. Let's see, I say you have 1500 in messages in your Inbox.

    As for me, I delete the junk mail first, then read everything. If it's something I need to save then it goes in its folder. If I need to take action on it, I Flag it and leave it in my Inbox.

    Since I hate having to scroll down, I can usually keep my email to under 30 items in my Inbox at any given time...though when I have a lot of book tours to coordinate it can sometimes get out of hand for a day or two.


  11. I try to go through my e-mail by weeding out the stuff I am not interested in, forwarding any letters from the daughter of some deceased chief of some tribe in Africa telling me they have a way to help me get rich by helping them a bit. Then I read the easy-peasy stuff of interest and finally, what's left is usually the stuff I need to respond to and I try to do that asap or else I tend to forget what I had figured on saying to them. Gotta be really careful about that since the senility genes I inherited are getting really restless these days.

  12. I'm fanatical about emptying my inbox every day. A bunch of unread mail drives me crazy. I try to handle each e-mail as little as possible, reading and deleting or responding as I go. If I can't take care of it right away, I move the message to a pending file or create a task for it in Outlook and move the message to the appropriate folder. I have dozens of folders—for clients, books, projects ... The first time I check mail each day I have a couple hundred messages but after that I check every 15 minutes and get only a few at a time. I used to get a lot more mail, but I have unsubscribed from many e-mail lists. If I don't have time to read the messages, I don't even want to see them.

    Lillie Ammann
    A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

  13. My email routine is different at work and home. At work I search first for email marked urgent, email from my customers and current project team. I do delete the junk mail - when I get around to it.

    At home, I take great pleasure in deleting junk and spam mail first. Then I look for personal messages, then the group messages.

    In both places, I save almost everything - in folder where I can hope to find info later.

  14. I look at my email every day. I use my Blackberry to do it when I'm on the road, save things to my computer that I can only take care of at home.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith


Your Comment Is Welcome