April 5, 2009

Words Overwhelm

"Another spam message pops up. It gets trapped. Nowhere to go. To the recycle bin. RIP CITY BABY."
Ben Golligan channeling Portland Trail Blazers' announcer Bill Schonely
Your e-mail inbox says a lot about you, according to psychologist Dave Greenfield, the founder of the Center for Internet Behavior. It may even be a reflection of your mental health

So I am, apparently, clinically insane. 

In a Wall Street Journal article (not accessible for linkage) Mr. Greenfield said, "If you keep your inbox full rather than empty, it may mean you keep your life cluttered in other ways. Do you cling to the past? Do you have a lot of unfinished business in your life?"

Well, duh.

On the other hand, if you obsessively clean your inbox every 10 minutes, you may be so quick to move on that you miss opportunities and ignore nuances. And overly polite people or needy people are most likely to feel obliged to participate in ping-pong correspondences with chatty friends. 

One of Greenfield’s clients had 500 old messages in his inbox, all needing responses. In desperation, he deleted all his messages and then sent an email to everyone on his contact list, telling them that his Internet service provider had failed and to resend anything important he hadn’t responded to already.

I think that was a stroke of genius.

As a case of inbox paralysis, consider the finance executive who had 10,000 emails in her inbox. She was advised to simply delete the oldest 9,000 and then attempt to follow-up on what was left. (By my calculations, that would still be a thousand!) Now if you'll excuse me, I'm wondering what the state of my e-mail's outbox says about me. (I think I know what Freud would say...)

No comments: