I have achieved nirvana:
Yes, after I’ve-lost-count-how-many years of using email and two or three years of vague leanings in the direction of Getting Things Done, this week I finally managed to do something I wish (now, with hindsight) I’d done a long time ago: I emptied my inbox.
I used to treat it as not just as an inbox, but also as a things-that-are-waiting-for-something box, and as a result messages would disappear from view, and therefore from memory. Weeks would go by and I’d suddenly remember something important, and end up scrolling through my inbox hunting down the email that would tell me about it.
So this week I declared an end to this unhelpful practice. I created a new “Pending” mailbox, into which I could throw things-waiting-for-something, then spent about an hour (that’s all it took) going through the contents of my inbox and dealing with it; deleted, replying, and archiving as necessary.
And this is what I’m left with. An empty inbox, waiting to be filled. I have a new rule for my working day: this box always gets emptied, no matter what.
It’s only been a day, but already I can see the benefits.