Would having X-ray vision help?

Curious about Communication | Email Organization

Business-Communication-Eyeglasses

It’s no accident that I’m a photographer.
I’m a visual person.
Being so strongly visual, I clear my inbox. 
When there are only a few emails in my inbox, I can see clearly what I have to do.

It’s been pretty eye-opening to see how others deal with the inbox.
My interview subjects are all successful at what they do, no matter what system they use for answering emails.
When I started doing my interviews, from my own bias I kept asking people how often they cleared their inboxes.
I just assumed that people DID clear their inbox.

Surprise to me!  I had evenly distributed responses for clearing the inbox:
•  every day  (a few people)
•  about once a month  (more people did this)
•  once every 6 months (again, more people did this)
•  once a year  (a few people)
•  never (a fair number of people)

I just couldn’t believe that people would keep so many emails in their inbox, but many did.
Or they waited as long as they felt necessary (a month or six months) before the inbox got too squirrely for them.
Or they just waited until the end of the year to archive the inbox.

I asked people to define how they clear their email inbox.  My respondants used these methods:
1) deleting emails
or
2)  archiving them in one big bunch (emails 2010, emails 2009, etc)
or
3)  moving emails into mailbox folders by client, job, person’s name, etc.

How does this all work in organizing your email?  More on that tomorrow!


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