Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Should Scouts Get All the Badges?

Here's a clever idea: The Nerd Merit Badge. This particular one stands for "Inbox Zero." That's right! I have, for the first time in my life, cleared my inbox of everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Yes, it feels absolutely wonderful! No more items staring me in the face, nagging me to deal with them. No more using my inbox as an all-purpose storage facility, hoping I'll find things if I need them someday.

"But, but, but...." I can hear you sputter. Calm down and take a deep breath. Here's how In-Box-Zen/Nirvana/Lifelong Peace and Happiness can be yours.
a. Deal with each email that can be answered in 2 minutes or less. Then get rid of it.
b. File anything that you need for reference. Computers have great search functions. Don't use your inbox as a dumping ground. Learn to use your computer's file structure and how to organize them for easy searching. More on this in a future post.
c. Move to another email folder only if absolutely necessary. I have one for homeschool group issues, one marked "hold" for things that will resolve themselves in a week or less (orders on their way), and one for recipes.
d. What doesn't belong in your inbox: jokes and funny videos (if they are worth saving, then create a file on your hard drive. But you REALLY need to hang on this?), pictures - save them, anything that is an action item - put on your to-do list. Contact info: move to your address book. Events: move them to your calendar.
e. Handling action items: Move these emails onto your to-do list. I use one called If the email needs to accompany the to-do, then I send it along when I create the item. For example, I forwarded the email with the birthday dinner reminder to my to-do list for Saturday, the day I needed to shop for decorations. Imagine that! I emailed a note to my "future self" and it was ready and waiting for me on the day that I needed it.

If you are interested in reading more about how to make your computer work for you, I can't recommend this book highly enough: Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst is a wealth of information. The 2 biggest reasons to read it: Learn how to end the confusion of trying to combine a paper-based life with a bit-based one, also, learn how to keep your electronic life simple when the bits threaten to overwhelm you. Not for geeks only (no programming knowledge needed!), Bit Literacy is really just Computers 101 for normal people.


southerninspiration said...

hey, you are soooo much cooler than I....will you mentor me? And if you'd like, I'll sew that badge on for ya.


EuroMom said...

Well, I checked out the book but haven't had time to read it because I am trying to clear my inbox. Aren't I funny?