Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Delete Mindset

Ever notice when you're moving from one house to another and you're up to your elbows in cardboard boxes and packing peanuts that your inclination to throw things away or put aside for a trip to the Salvation Army drop off goes up? The cadence of the mantra, "When in doubt throw it out" starts to increase as one gets closer and closer to the actual move date and the reality of how many little things still need to be packed sinks in.

Contrast this to when you've been in your home for three or four years. Something new shows up and we don't think to throw something old out. We add our new item to the pile.

I find the same dynamic at work with a clean inbox. When I've worked to reduce my email inbox to zero emails I'm much more inclined to delete messages in order to keep it clean. If I've let it get out of hand and I've got 200 or so sitting in there I tend to let the new emails sit thinking, "What's the point? One email won't make a difference."

Sometimes I think the most productive time spent is investing in clearing out the inbox, the garage, the basement. It may not seem like it rises to the level of importance of other things at the time but the ripple effect of this invested time very often does.

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