Clutter tries to exist in our lives if we don't manage it.
I read my Project Management textbook and it explained the 3 major eras in information management. There used to be a single person designated as the DP who took care of a central processor that contained all of the records and information in a company. These mainframes were very expensive, and normally there was only one per company. Costs declined and the micro era cropped up. Microprocessors could be purchased and would bypass these DPs, so with that, redudancies occurred and problems surfaced with data integrity, security, and so much more. Then Chief Information Officers existed in companies to manage this information, understanding that many many hands and eyes would be peering over this information and attempted to create a process to manage this rising complexity.
Now. As I become more and more ambitious, I relied solely on my memory (poor thing) and although I remember nearly everything, it's when that memory hits that I simply can't rely on it anymore. Even writing things down, who knows when I'll look at that post-in note in my purse again to notify me?
It came to a head. My Hotmail inbox was flooded. Even my barely used gmail account had emails in it. In addition, there were text messages I didn't respond to and my Facebook account Wall and Messages were another repository of missed messages. The written notes on my desk and the mental notes in my brain couldn't compete.
I was overwhelmed.
So I took action to program some of these habits into my iPhone app, the Habit Factor. It's helping immensely with my workflow.
Sometimes emails are time-sensitive and I can't be continuously forgetting to respond to things.
I'm happy my Gmail inbox is ZERO.
I'm happy my Hotmail inbox is at 4. And I've noticed an attitude shift within me. I think of emails in terms of, what information do I need to take away from this, and if I have all of the information I need, have I plugged in some action items on my calendar, can I place it in a folder for safekeeping, or do I need to flag it and look to it later? I don't use my inbox as a place for safekeeping.
I repudiate a plethora of emails in my inbox, and that certainly is different. :)
I believe in zero.