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Dealing With Inbox Problems: I Hate My Inbox So Much

I hate my inbox.

Sad, I know. I remember my first email account that optimistically chirped, “You’ve got mail!!” A Pavlovian, heart-racing moment. I was reminded of my childhood, when my mom would shout my name and announce the arrival of a letter from a pen pal. I’d race down the stairs, snatch the letter out of my mom’s hands, run back upstairs and pour over the letter penned by someone I’d never met. It was magical.

The email novelty lasted for years. Best. Invention. Ever. Until, it wasn’t.

Email Problems: Feeling The Email Burnout

The madness now begins Sunday evening. I know that if I start pouring through emails on Monday morning, I’ll never get to the “real” work. Myth: I’ll just get a jump on it, clean it out for tomorrow. Reality: You can’t actually “clean” your inbox. An hour of cleaning house results in only 10 (of 200) deleted emails and creates a whole new to-do list for Monday morning.

It’s Monday morning and my last kid leaves at 8:00 a.m. I am jittery as I race to my computer. The bold font of unread emails almost puts me over the edge. I desperately scan the “from” and “subject” columns to prioritize my day, but the “OMG” email from a snarky friend takes precedence over the “Contract” email from a colleague. Myth: I will get through my inbox this morning. Reality: I’m Doug, the dog from the movie, Up, and my inbox is filled with squirrels.

A day of meetings begins, with hardly a second to check my email inbox in between. I want to check—okay, really I want to just delete every message—but I’m also scared to check. Not Amityville Horror scared, but not so far from it, either. Each email brings a plea—send me this, do you have that, can we do this by tomorrow, is it possible to do this by Friday? Stop this crazy thing, I want to get off. No, really, I want to get off.

But, I don’t because I also love the way my fingers fly across the keyboard—making the recipient laugh. I can almost hear them laughing with me, thanking me—all through the power of my fingertips. I love it. And I hate it. All at the same time. It’s like any other great relationship.

And so, I’ll keep at it, trying not to fall victim to the myths. It’s virtually impossible to shut out the noise completely. But I must remember that I am still in the driver’s seat. I need to resist the urge and remember to breathe. I am in control.

But boy do I love the sound of that SWISH sound when the email is sent.

Stephanie Silverman

Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman is publisher of Your Teen Magazine.

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