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10jan2011: In recent years, I have become lax about managing e-mail. I tried the severe 'inbox zero' strategy, which calls for every message to be promptly dealt with, archived, or deleted. There were always a few items that I wasn't quite ready to consign to the archive, however, and the inevitable broken windows effect meant that those were joined by more. Once my recent mail went back more than a year, the inbox became a tomb for things I didn't want to think about.

In December, I cleared out over a thousand accumulated messages and tried to establish a norm that I can actually follow. My new strategy is 'inbox less than twenty'. I won't let me inbox go past twenty messages in my inbox. It's like a hedge, and I prune it. This means that I don't have to make an immediate decision about everything. Some things may hover in the twenty message limbo for quite some time, but I do have to confront them. Rather than being swallowed by the abyss, they hover around the hedge like a gadfly.

Unrelated aside: I tweaked the layout of my other homepage for the first time in several years.


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