India Uncut

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Friday, May 05, 2006

The email monster

Back from an office picnic that involved some gruelling fun, I'm overwhelmed by my email backlog. I try my best to keep my count of unread mails to zero, but in January this year I began a 45-day trip through Pakistan, and it all went awry. The unread mails began piling up as internet access became a relatively scarce commodity, and I found myself unable to read all my mails, leave alone respond to them.

Many of the emails I receive come from readers of this blog, and while my email policy states that I may not reply to all emails, I try to do so anyway, and feel guilty when I can't. Besides this, I'm part of a few email groups and mailing lists, and I also get emails from friends. (Yes, I do have friends. Even I'm surprised.) All put together, it's a lot of email.

So while travelling, I resorted to reading only the most urgent mails, skimming through the rest, and putting a star besides every mail I intended to reply to later. (I use Gmail, and have blogged about it here and here.) All email that I consider too important to ignore, thus, lands up in my starred folder.

And how many unattended emails does that folder have now? As of now, 1524. [Cue enormous sigh that topples laptop off lap.] I have a hard enough time coping with current emails, and invariably procrastinate on older ones. In fact, I forget about a lot of important mails, because the act of putting a star on them takes them off my mind, as I automatically assume that the need to remember them does not exist any more.

So I'm checking my email now, with 864 unread mails in my inbox and 1524 starred ones. I'm panicking. What to open? Who to reply to? How much goodwill am I squandering with my callousness? It's too much to deal with, so I postpone the decision.

I blog.
amit varma, 2:51 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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