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The Myth of Inbox Zero

The Myth of Inbox Zero
Keep on checking…. (Image via Samuel Zeller)

“God, I’m so proud of keeping my inbox to zero,” said no one ever.

Inbox Zero is a futile game. It’s a fun myth created by life hackers to illustrate stellar productivity. But the internet never ends and no one has ever achieved anything great by having an empty inbox. In fact, a plethora of email is more likely to be a sign of busyness, as is a messy desk.

A lot of people like email because it offers more control than the incessant social media feeds. It also avoids the regrettable FOMO that comes with checking Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, startups like Slack are trying to merge email with instant messaging and social. to make communication more efficient. But try as they will to reinvent email, it’ll still be there in its simplest form like our snail mail.

Email is a punching bag – you can hit it as hard as you want but the dimple is temporary. Bills, newsletters, and spam always reform to force you to mark them ‘read.’

You can’t defeat email – the best you can do is to contain it.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of Discvr.blog and four books.