Is it cluttered?
Is it empty?
Is it full of things you keep meaning to do?
Is it a source of frustration?
Is it a source of pride?
Back when I worked for pay I lived by my inbox. This was especially true when I worked as a magazine editor. My inbox was my ‘control center.’ There I kept everything organized for each upcoming issue…including attachments from guest editors and writers as well as contracts and communications with illustrators. I worked very hard to keep the inbox clean and organized, because if it was in disarray…so was I.
These days I don’t work for pay and I don’t live by my inbox. But I do check my email daily because I have many, many friends from the different times in my adult life (high school, college, Tennessee, Indiana, etc.)
And I find that I need to keep my good-inbox-keeping-skills even now.
I work to keep no more than 3 emails in the active inbox at a time. Once they are taken care of I delete or archive. With gmail the search function is very good and useful and I know I can dig an email out again if needed.
The ones in the active inbox are a (constant, annoying sometimes) reminder that I need to do something. I cringe when there are more than 3 of them there, or when any of them have been there for more than a week.
You can imagine my consternation to find 8 of them there right now. Ack.
One is a recipe for oatmeal butterscotch cookies from dear friend Jaymi.
Which I need to print out and put in my cookbook and then archive the email…down to 7.
One is a referral to a women’s healthcare practitioner that came highly recommended.
Which I need to call and find out if they accept our insurance. I really don’t like making phone calls…which is why this one is still there. Seriously, why can’t I find out everything I need via email/the internet?
One is a link to my digital copy of Mothering Magazine…July/August issue.
I just got this yesterday…so I am cutting myself slack on it. I usually read the full issue and then archive the link for later.
Two of them all concern one issue…which I need to take care of…um, Monday. 😉
One of them contains a question about Waldorf Education that I need to address. I’ve actually gotten the same (essentially) question from 5 different people lately. I am working (at least mentally) on a blog post or page with info about what resources I’m using and about my process. This isn’t meant as a recommendation so much as an example.
One of them is an ongoing conversation about ‘inner work’ happening within the waldorf homeschoolers yahoo group. Wow, is this ever timely. Inner Work is so very important in my preparations for this coming year. With each paragraph I read I see more and more clearly why I need to be putting time and energy into this ‘good work.’
That leaves only one. That one I just need to reply to with a ‘sorry, I checked into it but didn’t find any resources for you…’ I hate that reply, but it is an honest one. And I can’t know everything…at least that much I do know. 😉
And during the typing of this post, 4 more emails arrived. Argh. Oh, good, they were all read and delete…
Why did I share this with you?
I think it’s because my inbox reflects who I am and how I approach life. When things get complicated, do I put them aside instead of just hunkering down and doing it NOW? Do I let it bother me for a few days before I finally get tired of it and get it done?
It’s important for me to use my inbox as a way to gauge my mental/emotional/spiritual health. When my inbox is cluttered, so is my soul.
So I am off to take care of all the emails that have been hanging in the inbox for more than a day. I’ll feel lighter and freer for having done so. Really.
peace and blessings,
PS — quick update…and now there are THREE. I took care of all of them I could…the magazine will stay there until I can read through it…one of them has to wait til next week…one is an ongoing conversation. And I do, indeed, feel light and free.