The troubles of an Inbox don’t come from the Inbox itself.
It comes from the weights it places in front of us.
Read on to find out more…
There’s a wonderful meme called How to Draw an Owl:
Excusing the expletive, similarly, using an Inbox follows the same issue. The use boils down to:
1. Stick things in an Inbox when you’re not sure what to do with them.
2. Go through the Inbox later and put those things in places you trust
How to do the second part is terribly difficult, particularly for those who struggle with attention and engagement.
But why? What is missing between the circles and the owl?
The trouble lurks in the phrase “places you trust.” These would be places that we genuinely believe will present what we need, when and where we need them.
The trouble is that, oftentimes, such trusted places do not exist. Therefore, a new step enters.
**If and when a trusted place does not exist, we must build it**.
The next trouble is that if we now step aside to build some trusted place, we must move away from processing the Inbox, leaving that job incomplete.
Further, when we go off to build a trusted area, we are now faced with a potential cascade of problems that come with organizing. Namely, as soon as we try to find a home for one thing, we find that any would-be-home is filled with other stuff that themselves need homes.
This Inbox method of targeting an organizing process can be powerful, but it can also be prone to a perseverative flow and exhaustion.
The result is that even after tiring hours of doing… something… the Inbox remains unemptied and is no longer trusted, while few if any homes for ideas have been created.
It would be easy to point our finger at the Inbox, but I don’t believe that is our best point of focus. Instead, it is the weight of decision.
Often, the Inbox is placed first in any form of “productivity” teaching. But from the beginning, it creates multiple hurdles of decision, and decisions can be terrible sore spots for wandering minds.
Working memory needs to weigh decisions, but it is already overburdened with a regular onslaught of distraction, both internal and external.
For these reasons, I wonder if it it better to find other paths to creating trusted homes.
So I ask, What do you do? How do you decide when to build a trusted home for something? At the Inbox or at other times?
PS. I’ve (re)started my Instagram account. I’d like to talk about productivity, wandering minds, mastery, music, and the like. Please join me there, and tell me – What would you like me to talk about?