Saturday, March 15, 2008

Emptied E-Mail Box

I've been following a blog titled "How to Save the World" written by Dave Pollard. Recently he wrote A World Without E-Mail: Getting Our Lives Back in Synch with suggestions on how to manage our contact needs productively via calendaring. It made a lot of sense to me.

I commented that due to my leave from work due to stress related illnesses, that I'd deleted my email from my home computer -- purged everything regardless of what it was. And I did. Now, I check email once a week and am a lot happier for it. I said it freed up time I need for healthier activities like walking with my dog.

What did I let go of anyway?

7 years worth of CTIA and other mobile phone communications newsletters and email. I worked in the mobile communications industry which is the source of my stress related illness. As a customer service and tech support rep, I felt I needed to keep on top of anything that affected or potentially affected my employer's customers. Those emails included topics developing technologies, our products, competitors products, legislation, zoning, you name it. I even had email with links to manufacturers who made phones our company did NOT sell, but that our customers would buy to use on our network (or try to) back from before our company's intranet had a reference knowledge base addressing unsupported products.

I've gotten out of touch with the business and need to stay out of touch with it for a while. It is okay. Really.

Ditto C|Net, ZDNet, and Tech Republic with all their cross platform stuff that segued into my work related email. Years worth of updates gone in seconds.

I kissed off my news updates. Good bye NY Times, Washington Post, SF Chronicle, Irish Times, The Telegraph, Some of the news was so old the links were beyond archived and simply dead. The saving grace was if I had paper copies of those same circulars, our home would have been a firetrap. I told myself that I'd go back and read x,y and z stories, but the truth is once read and in the folder, new things came up and I seldom went back to them no matter how clever I was flagging & tagging them as "important."

I trashed email from friends and family that was chock-a-block with forwarded urban legends, scams and chain letters, not to mention jokes, cute pics and inspirational stories (which were often urban legends)! These were the emails that got read once then filed into the family/friend's folder and left to moulder. Very few ever got answered. Some vexed me enough that I'd send a reply with a link to Snopes or showing that what they sent was bullsh*t and either not true or fraudulent or some combination thereof.

Oh! and with those deletions were thousands and thousands of unsolicited email addresses I got which had been included with each forwarding. Suzie forwards to Tom, Dick and Harry. Harry then forwards to Marvin, Tyson, and Sylvester each of whom gets Suzie, Tom and Dick's email addys and include them when they forward to Mom, Pop, Uncle Ted, Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob ad infinitum. (Some people never did learn how to cut and paste, you know? It's too hard, they say!)

Perhaps I have issues but seriously, it's discouraging to think family and friends can be taken in by some of this stuff. It's sometimes a bit scary when some of the email my well-meaning family members forward is also bigoted. Do these people I'm attached to really believe this crap even though the lies and rumors have proved again and again to be untrue and distorted? Even when investigative media has proved they're untrue? It worries me. Some of the screeds have such hyperbole, it's hard to believe that my family doesn't see through the language used to see that they're being told lies. So it's good to get that junk out of my in-box and out of my life.

The fact is I'm skeptical enough anyway.

Last to go were the catalogs. I'm not buying anyway.

How radical is it to delete the email box? Harried executives are now doing it. I misplaced the story, but apparently some hotshot CEO got fed up and deleted his mailbox and no one ever noticed that he hadn't replied to their emails. It was just so much noise after awhile.

So if you're overwhelmed, just give in and delete your email inbox once in a while. It doesn't hurt. I promise.

No comments: