My email management pattern for the past few months has been to let it build up during the week—where “let it build up” means being aggressive without losing sleep—and then to use weekend mornings to get dug out from under—where “dug out from under” means getting my inbox down to zero, with anything active moved into either @followup or @pending. But my inbox hasn’t touched zero in over a month. Part of the problem recently has been failing spam filters, which has raised the nuisance factor.
The weekend starts tomorrow. The current count is 67 messages in the inbox, 32 in @followup, and 2 in @pending. (And 2,800+ messages in @readingpile, consisting mostly of newsletters and mailing list digests.) With past performance as an indicator, I expect to sink about 2 hours this weekend into getting my inbox to zero and 2-3 more dealing with stuff that needs to be followed up on. This doesn’t count making progress on various projects that need attention, though email slinging overlaps nicely with the pre-folding stages of the laundry pipeline. The reading pile—with past performance as an indicator—won’t get touched.
I’m gaining new sympathies with people who’ve sent curt replies when I expected longer, more thoughful responses. I have more “thoughtful reply” obligations that I have time right now.