© 2019 by Dale Allen Berg

2020 Twenty: Inbox Zero



This has got to be the most embarrassing and vulnerable goal I have on my list. To give you a glimpse of the disaster my online life is, is not something I enjoy doing. I’m just showing you a screenshot of my dock, because I know some of you would have an anxiety attack if you ever saw my ENTIRE home screen!


My email got out of control about five years ago when my concert production company was thriving and at an all time high. I began receiving between 100-200 emails a day, but couldn’t justify hiring myself an assistant. I got really good at skimming through my inbox and selecting the critical or top priority emails to read, the rest sadly didn’t even get opened. Believe it or not, this practice is VERY COMMON in the entertainment industry. I think I justified it a bit too much when I witnessed how my mentor managed his inbox. He too would receive a couple hundred emails every day, and would pick and choose which ones he read and replied to, and then at the end of the day just before he left the office, he would select all unread messages in his inbox and hit delete, and then with a cheeky smile, he would spin around in his chair and say, “see? Inbox zero! If it was important, they’ll write again. Time to go home!” and then he’d shut his computer down and walk out.


I could never hit delete so effortlessly, so my inbox began to grow. The bad habits transferred to my personal accounts then too, and I started drowning from which I’ve never recovered. And yes it’s plural... I have five email accounts. How many do you have? And that’s not even including my junk mail account. Way back in the 90s when I first discovered the internet, I had this thought to claim an email account JUST for spam and junk mail. I never ever log into it, but just checked and there are over 50,000 emails in that account too!


The phone notification are... well, just a hassle. Let me ask you this: do you answer the phone anymore? I know it sounds weird that we all walk around and cherish and protect these thousand dollar PHONES we all own - and we no longer use them as phones! But I know I’m not the only one. I have over 400 contacts saved in my phone. Those are the only people I would answer my phone for, and guess what? They are smart enough to know not to call me. They text or message me! It’s the others who haven’t figured that out yet, who are causing havoc on my dock.


Then Instagram has become my primary form of messaging with friends and my online social interactions. This one is my priority and I usually keep this one caught up, not taking more than a day or two to reply to messages. The problem is that its obviously so much easier and quicker to read messages sent to me, than it is to write a reply. One thing I've learnt about myself is that if I read a message, but don't reply immediately... I seldom will come back to it. So, I just leave messages unread until I have time to commit to it. Ironically, increasing my social interactions was one of my previous goals if you recall! So, that makes THIS goal even more important, as its of utmost importance to me that I develop better relationships with my friends, and a major component of that is ensuring I don't miss or neglect a message.


Now while I’ve become immune to the stress of the notification badge showing three, four and five figures in each of them, it would still be nice to get rid of them. I already have some ideas and strategies in place, but it's still gonna take a bit of time and effort to do a full online purge. Do you have any of these red notification badges lingering on your home screen? Or have you mastered the inbox zero philosophy?