A few mornings ago, I met a friend for a sunrise run, hoping to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse. Halfway through mile two, she told me one of her dirty secrets: She had over 16,000 emails in her inbox.
I stood up straight and picked up the pace. “Sixteen THOUSAND?!” Yes, my friends. 16,000. And get this: she is one of the most accomplished, professional women I know. But she had a plan. She had figured out how to declare gmail bankruptcy, and how to delete or archive them all in one fell swoop. That very day, she was going to have an empty inbox, she declared.
But what about moving forward? Last summer, I was fortunate enough to take an extended trip abroad. In preparation, I unsubscribed from everything, except a handful crucial feeds relating to my family or business. When I came back, I realized I did not miss a thing. In fact, I was liberated. No longer did I have to feel guilty for not having followed that diet or exercise regime. I didn’t have to feel underdressed for not having purchased the latest fashion. I didn’t have to feel like an inadequate parent for not having signed my kids up for every event. I didn’t even have to feel bad karma for not meditating enough. (Really?! Who meditates while they read their email?) It was glorious. And going through my inbox is now a quick morning ritual. If I make the conscious choice to look for a product, service or event, I know where to find it. It doesn’t need to come to me every single week. And it certainly doesn’t need to interrupt my flow.
The sun rose and we never did see the eclipse. But we both felt lighter and energized, ready for a productive day.