Every January, as the Christmas and New Years celebrations come to a close, many people begin to feel a sense of fear and impending doom about tackling the dreaded inbox pileup. Despite the fact that holidays are meant to be a time for relaxation, working people often remain plagued by the anxiety of dealing with the email backlog in their inbox that is growing exponentially day by day. If this experience sounds somewhat familiar, fear not. Help is at hand in the form of Inbox Infinity, a lifestyle hack coined by Taylor Lorenz, a journalist at The Atlantic, that will help you get stuff done.
In order to adopt the Inbox Infinity approach, a person must first come to the realisation that it is almost impossible to constantly stay on top of their emails, and accept that a large percentage of those emails will remain unanswered or unread. Inbox Infinity-ers should try to reply to the messages they can — especially if they are of high importance — but ultimately let the stream of emails roll in without too much concern about the rest. By admitting that the overwhelming number of emails in your inbox is too much, you can accept and embrace the ever-growing number. Consider it less of a digital detox and more of a boost to your productivity, which is a MAJOR 2019 vibe.
Lorenz suggests you send a message to the people you contact frequently, and to family, to let them know that your replies may be slightly slower than usual, and perhaps suggest another means of contact, such as a phone call. I've been a keen fan of the Inbox Infinity method for some time now and, let me tell you, it works a charm. But there are different levels of Inbox Infinity. Film director Christopher Nolan, for example, simply chooses not to use email at all (can you imagine?!), according to the Hollywood Reporter, while some opt for automated messages to be sent out on their behalf.
Previous to Inbox Infinity, the email trend of the moment was Inbox Zero but, trust me, that is so 2018. Supporters of Inbox Zero say they feel less anxious when their email contains zero unread messages, but the methods for achieving this (eg. "filing and deleting emails religiously") seems to be very time consuming.
Wired journalist Victoria Turk suggests adopting Marie Kondo's KonMari method for email sorting. This method is based on the principle that, if something doesn't "spark joy," it's gotta go. In order to save yourself from the digital clutter, Turk recommends organising your emails into different categories, and deleting (or archiving) any messages that have gone unread for a long time. But, alas, these are all methods of the past.
Having no unread emails in your inbox may bring about a momentary feeling of calm, but striving for a consistently "clean" inbox is sure to invite more anxiety into your life. The Inbox Infinity approach relieves you of this pressure, and allows you to spend more time on the tasks that really require your attention. Here's to a 2019 full of productivity and an inbox full of emails.