Kristin Aardsma on letting go of Inbox Zero:
Inbox Zero is an arbitrary goal; there will always be another customer email or phone call or tweet. Inbox Zero is a fruitless fight for control. It became an image that tied us to our screens, that swallowed any self-care practices we had instilled over the years. It also became a habit of treating our customers less like humans who needed support and more like screens to get rid of.
I have a deep respect—and I would go so far as to say deep understanding—of the philosophical roots from which Merlin Mann grew Inbox Zero into a internet movement in the mid-2000s. But that was a very different epoch in internet history.
In the mid-2000s, email was the primary form of text-based internet communication, and it was actually feasible to deal with it like a paper inbox. But so many inboxes have proliferated since then, and email has only gotten worse. Today, to have an Inbox Zero mindset is to be adversarial with one’s self.
There is just too much to read. Too much to process. Most importantly, too little to be gained by zeroing out an inbox in any moment of earth’s rotation about its axis. In the last year, more than ever, I’ve realized the most enlightened decision is to let the dam break, walk away, and focus on work outside of open inboxes.