We constantly need to login to software and services. Whether it’s your workstation, laptop, phone, social network, or software at work, we need access to dozens of passwords. In fact, research suggests the average person has between 25 and 35 unique logins they need to remember. If you’re not using a password manager, that can be a real problem. It’s no wonder that nearly 40% of people forget a password at least once a week.
Here at SaneBox, we love email — when it’s used well. That’s a crucial distinction. When you understand and use email effectively, it can be a fantastic tool. When you and your colleagues use email indiscriminately, it can be a huge drain on time and productivity.
Email is the first and foremost communication for Octavia Goredema, a Los Angeles-based editor and social entrepreneur. Octavia oversees two media platforms — Twenty Ten Talent helps black female professionals accelerate their careers and Twenty Ten Club shares the success stories of black female entrepreneurs. She is also a board trustee of The Zimbabwe Educational Trust and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Unfortunately, this means her inbox was becoming inundated on a daily basis with emails from different time zones.
“Due to the nature of my work I’m on the receiving end of so much information. On top of that, I like to keep up to date with breaking news, trends and developments,” Octavia explains. “This meant over the course of the past few years my inbox was starting to spiral out of control.”
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Considering the fact that the average person sends and receives 122 business emails per day, it’s easy to understand why recipients sometimes miss emails and why senders forget to follow up if there was no response. In fact, we recently analyzed our internal data and found that just 6 to 7% of the emails our users send receive a reply. To combat this issue, we created SaneNoReplies, a bulletproof follow-up tool that ensures important threads don’t fall through the cracks. We released it in beta a few weeks ago, and the response so far has been fantastic.
Kelly Sue DeConnick conjures up heroes and villains every day. So when her inbox grew out of control and threatened to overtake her sanity, she knew she needed a hero.
A comic book and television writer living in Portland, Ore., Kelly was drowning in emails about her various projects—including comics such as Captain Marvel, Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly. The relentless stream made her feel, to borrow a metaphor from writer Merlin Mann, like she was living in a rainstorm.
“It’s constant, there’s nothing you can do to stop it, and you cannot catch all the raindrops,” she said. “I just get so much mail, I absolutely cannot keep up with it.”
In addition to her work as a creative professional, Kelly Sue juggles being both a mom and the wife of a fellow comic book writer. With so much to do, she had trouble getting through her legitimate emails each day, much less the low-priority and junk messages. (The garbage does tend to pile up when you’re an early internet adopter who’s had the same easy-to-remember email address for years.)
Last week we looked at a psychological phenomenon called decision fatigue and discussed how it can cause us to make poor choices or avoid making choices altogether. More specifically, we dove into how decision fatigue can freeze us when it comes to cleaning out our homes and our inboxes. (You can read that article here.)
Whether we’re talking about physical objects, digital information, or anything in between, decluttering is, at its core, the act of repeatedly deciding how to process our possessions. Because of this, it can be a mentally exhausting endeavor; but also because of this, we can apply a similar set of overarching practices for preventing and purging our messes, both online and off. Here’s how.