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August 22, 2006

News & Opinion: Keeper or Deleter?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 3:29 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

A friend of mine forwarded me an article from the WSJ awhile ago (indicating that perhaps I stray towards the side of being an email hoarder). It's on how what goes on in your inbox reflects your lifestyle. I'm sure we've all been in the position of feeling overwhelmed from the emails sitting in our inbox. Or perhaps by the number of email reminders popping up on the lower righthand part of your screen.
There's a lot to be learned from how emails are handled. It can reflect what's going on in other areas of your life. Jeffrey Zaslow (writer for the WSJ) has two categories for inbox owners:
1 ) HOARDER:
According to psychologist Dave Greenfield, who founded the Center for Internet Behavior in West Hartford, Conn., "If you have 1,000 emails in your inbox, it may mean you don't want to miss an opportunity, but there are things you can't pull the trigger on."
2) DELETER
On Deleters, Greenfield says, "If you have only 10 emails in your inbox, you may be pulling the trigger too fast and missing the richness of life."
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I found this story interesting. If you've emailed Scott lately, now you know what happened to your reply:
Zaslow profiled a "inbox paralyzed" Scott Stratten in Ontario who had hundreds of old unanswered messages in his inbox. What did he do? Deleted all his messages and explained to his contacts that his faulty Internet service was the reason for not responding.
"Mr. Stratten describes what he did as "pure evil," but he also calls it a turning point. He realized he had to find a better way to ease his guilt over not coming through for people. He is now hiring an assistant who will handle his email."
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Marilyn Paul's advice on how to handle your emails is to:
Try organizing your emails into folders based on subject or necessary follow-up. Then go through it each week at a certain time. Also try alphabetizing by sender.
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From The Wall Street Journal; Hoarders vs. Deleters: What your inbox says about you; By Jeffrey Zaslow; 2006-08-10.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.