Take a Digital Victory Lap By Clearing Your Inbox

James Walpole/ May 2, 2019

Most people take a victory lap *after* they get to inbox zero. But what if you could use inbox clearing as a digital victory lap of its own?

Yesterday I listened to a good podcast from The Voluntary Life about one of the podcaster’s  personal journaling habits related to productivity. One of them is journaling on a regular basis about the tasks he has completed, a practice which lets him look back with satisfaction on the things he’s done (instead of just passing them over).

I don’t journal quite like that. But perhaps the gist of the idea connected with me subconsciously today as I cleared out my old email threads from the last month.

I tend to respond to important emails (though I still have areas for improvement there) but haven’t lately made a point of archiving them. So today as I finally got around to it, my inbox processing was sort of like a walk through a memory lane.

It was nice. After a long day of decision-making and a week already full of deliberation and a bit of frustration, I got to look back at a bunch of more difficult tasks I had already overcome.

“Oh, yeah – I did get that company award nomination info submitted! I remember being really stressed about getting that data.”

“That’s right – I’ve already handled a lot of the questions and logistics for two events. I’ll be able to handle these next ones.”

“Wow, I’ve largely managed to get through the press and push and pull of the last month without missing anything really major.”

It’s a good feeling.

These old emails just show me where I’ve been and remind me that I’m more resourceful and resilient than maybe I feel in this moment.

So while I don’t plan to be an inbox zero person just yet (I’d argue that inbox perfection is more a defense play than an offense play in business), I think I’ve found a nice way to enjoy inbox cleanup a bit more. Maybe you’ll like it, too.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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