I Love/Hate My Inbox

I love my email inbox because:

  1. Students, staff, faculty can contact me with a question, and I will usually zip a reply back right away.
  2. I have two screens on my computer, my inbox is always up on the second one.
  3. I like being on top of my emails. It’s my “to-do” list. When I have completed the project that one of the emails is related to, then it is moved to the appropriate folder.
  4. I know, it’s so “J” of me, but I’m pretty obsessive about it. My inbox reflects my sense of order at work. If it’s neat and clean, I feel like I’m on top of things. If it’s overflowing, I feel overwhelmed and stay late to plow through it so I can feel on top of things again.
  5. My inbox adds to my flexibility to meet others needs, it provides a way of letting my brain wrap itself around all of my responsibilities and keep on top of them.

Okay, I don’t “HATE” my inbox, but I get stressed out because:

  1. Students, staff, and faculty need an answer. Right away. I feel bad if I don’t supply it immediately. My colleague, who is super-into business management skills, tells me I should only open my inbox at two defined times of the day, and manage it like that. I tried. I failed. It’s important to me to make sure people get an answer back right away.
  2. Two screens on my computer is a very sweet deal. I am able to swing one around and work with my students right away to show them what I want them to see. But when I have no appointments, I like to have something on that screen, so I’ve just become used to my inbox being there. I’d miss it if it wasn’t.
  3. I get a HUGE feeling of satisfaction when I am moving an email from the inbox to one of it’s appropriate folders. It’s like crossing something off your “to-do” list. On the flip side, walking into work and seeing a long list of emails makes me crazy.
  4. It’s probably my one “J” thing that really works for me at work, but I DO find it stressful. My inbox almost prioritizes my day. And if I already have stuff to do, ACK!
  5. I feel as though sometimes I am in “reactive”mode when I work according to my inbox, rather that being “proactive”. There’s a balance, which I am sure we are all striving to achieve.
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