How Email Decluttering Leads to Better Friendships

I spent a good deal of the day yesterday doing some spring cleaning of my email inbox at the advice of my friend Mark at Good Experience who extols the virtues of decluttering email inboxes (and who writes a truly interesting newsletter and puts on one of the most amazing conferences every April in New York). He believes so much in an empty inbox that he has written a book about it.

I decided that almost 9000 emails in my inbox probably qualified as overtaxed and so I finally decided to do something about it. It actually turned out to be less painful than I thought. I did a sort by Sender’s name (I use Entourage so have this ability) which grouped all the emails from certain people and sources together. I then just grabbed them all and filed them (a lot went into a folder called “friends) or I deleted them. In fact I deleted so many, it crashed my Entourage.

As I went through all my emails alphabetically, I came across emails from friends who I realized I haven’t been in contact with for a while. Many times as I decluttered I thought to myself “I need to give her/him a call!” And I did make one phone call and got caught up with a friend who is going through a tough time right now. It felt great. Now I have a “call list.” Friends who I need to call, friends I need to keep in touch with, make an effort for.

Just as I am feeling I need to be doing a better job of being a friend, I came across this posting by fellow single parent blogger, David (we’re not ALL moms, you know) and it seems I am not the only one feeling the lack of real face-to-face (vs. screen-to-screen), get-to-see-your-actual-facial-expressions-sit-down-and-chat-with-a-glass-of-wine kind of communication.

Its easy to fall into the trap of our daily machinations, hiding behind our screens in lieu of simply picking up the phone or heading out for coffee with a friend. One of the brightest hours of my week is a MeetUp writing group where a bunch of us get together every Friday at 11am and sit writing at a coffee shop. Afterward, whoever wants to read can share if they wish. We have become quite a close, cohesive group. We have organized Christmas parties and writing games parties and become even closer. Sometimes a couple of us will grab lunch after. We all marvel at how wonderful it is to be part of such a great group of people, especially as writers who tend to be rather hermity (well this writer anyway. Widow + Writer = never leaves the house).

I am so pleased that I now have a completely empty inbox AND a list of friends to call. Mark, you may have started a friendship revolution! Thanks.

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1 Comment

  1. dadshouse May 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Meeting up with people in real life is so much better than connecting online. Kudos for your regular meetup, and for wanting to get back in touch with old friends.

    Now then, can you come clean up my inbox? I fear I have just as many messages sitting therr…

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