From Inbox Overwhelm to Inbox Zen
Responding to a Question in Office Hours
Today’s post will respond to a question from office hours. Remember that paid subscribers have access to an anonymous Google Form for asking questions like this one:
I have found myself caught in a cycle of procrastination when it comes to my inbox. Despite my best intentions, I often delay responding to important work emails, and I'm struggling to understand why. I don’t think I procrastinate on other aspects of my job, but this one is hard for me. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this, but why do people struggle to stay on top of their inboxes, and what do I do about it?
As someone who regularly exchanges emails with other academics, I can assure you that you are not alone in your tendency to put off responding to emails. It is not unusual to have to wait weeks or months to hear back from someone or to have to send a few reminders before getting a reply. The longer I have been in academia, the more I put off dealing with my own inbox. Maybe I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid, or maybe I now have more reasons to procrastinate, as I will explain below.
The best way to deal with this type of procrastination is to examine the underlying causes, which can be found through some introspection. Here are some questions to ask yourself: