I don’t know about you, but there’s something I’ve noticed about myself recently. It’s not something new per se, rather something I’ve realized about my work habits — and how they pertain who the tendencies of my everyday life.
It’s quite frequent that I see people Tweeting or updating Facebook with the current status of their inbox. Ya know, stuff like “BOOM, inbox ZERO” and “Dang, I have 2537 emails to answer today.”
While I find it mildly entertaining when I see folks share this information, I’m more interested in the patterns of my own inbox, and how it reflects on my personality. Because I’m convinced that the two mirror each other in real life.
Types of Inboxes
I’m sure that there’s more than three types of inboxes, but to keep it simple and not to get overly psychological, I’ll stick with those.
1. Inbox Zero — This type of inbox is indicative of someone who strives to keep their inbox as close to zero as possible. A person with this type of inbox wants to live minimally, and probably keeps their life as lightweight as they can.
An uncluttered home, a simple design on their website, and other things that are not distracting are typical of this person. They reply to emails as quickly as they come in, so they can avoid having any unanswered emails in their inbox.
2. The Organized Inbox — This type of inbox might not be empty, but it certainly looks the part. Someone guilty of the organized inbox has a slew of folders in their inbox, and are structured people in life.
These folks are borderline anal retentive, and pay close attention to detail. As long as their emails are labeled and placed in the proper storage locations, they can get on with their day.
3. The Pig Pen Inbox — This type of inbox is something that doesn’t happen by accident. There are all kinds of emails here. Some are answered, some aren’t, and none of them are labeled or stored in folders.
If you opened the pig pen inbox, you’d say it resembled a war zone. Folks who are #1 or #2 above would get the shakes if they saw this inbox.
Which Type Do You Have?
I’ve always been a transparent person, so I have no problem fessing up here. Without question, I’m an “Inbox Zero” kinda guy.
The thought of something being unanswered stresses me out. Perhaps it has something to do with me always wanting to be ahead of the game, and the thought of having a slew of emails to answer always seems daunting.
At any given moment I never have more than 5 unanswered emails sitting in my inbox. For some reason, that’s kinda of the “magic number” when it comes to the threshold of stress. If < 5, I'm good. If > 5, I’m freaking out.
I can also say with certainly that how I approach my inbox is very similar to the way I run things in my life. I never like to have more than a few things on my to-do list, or I quickly become overwhelmed.
So, now it’s your turn. What type of inbox do you have? Let’s have some fun and discuss this in the comments below.