I think most of us have heard the "Touch Paper Once" rule, for working more efficiently. Instead of letting paperwork pile up, for each document we receive, we should take immediate action or put it in a "to-do box, file it or throw it away. The same technique can be applied to our inbox, where e-mails seem to multiply faster than bunnies.
The action we take will depend on the e-mail. It may just call for "read it, respond and delete." We may have a series of e-mails documenting ongoing correspondence. They should be saved in appropriate folders. Some e-mails may have attached documents that need to be saved. Others, we may want to forward. Of course, the inevitable junk mail should be deleted immediately - do not pass GO - proceed directly to the garbage.
Okay, I admit I know the rules and some of them, I even follow. I'm pretty good about deleting junk mail, immediately. I'm also fairly prompt in dealing with e-mails that require a response. Client correspondence gets moved to individual folders, but the system starts to fall apart when I get to the "other" category.
One of my endearing traits is procrastination. My inbox tends to pile up with the miscellany that I haven't gotten around to categorizing; the article I may want to read, the humorous story or intriguing pictures I may want to forward, the discount coupons I may decide to print and the inevitable promotions that may be worth reviewing.
Well, that "maybe" category has been dealt with, for me. This morning, while multi-tasking and toggling back and forth to check my messages, my inbox somehow got deleted. I wasn't even checking my inbox when it happened. In an instant - now you see it, now you don't. All my incoming messages - gone.
I guess I'll be starting the New Year with a clean slate, or at least no more than 10 days worth of unresolved incoming messages. If you've sent me a message to which I haven't responded, please re-send. You haven't been ignored - you've been deleted.
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