03/03/2015 04:49 pm ET Updated May 03, 2015

A Full Email Inbox Is Not a Badge of Honor


Having a bursting at the seams email inbox that keeps getting fuller is a reality for many.

Having hundreds of emails landing in our inbox that we have to process is not however a sign of how important we are. Despite this, email bragging is now something of a constant in offices around the world.

"Oh, I have so many emails to deal with".

"I can't get to that right now because I need to check my emails."

"I have over 750 unopened mails in my inbox to deal with, I'm so busy/important/wanted/loved."

Do you really think some of the most productive, successful and important people in the world spend their days either in inboxes or bragging about the size of their inboxes? Do you think Richard Branson created his success through spending more time than anyone else in his inbox? Do you think Barrack Obama spends his day on email?

Do you think the Dalai Lama makes such positive changes to so many lives because he spends his day bouncing emails around rather than seeking out human connection?

No, I didn't think so. Maybe you shouldn't either.

A full inbox that never gets un-full is not something to be proud of. It does in fact indicate that you are probably misusing email and working extremely unproductively.

"Unproductive?! Me?!! But I'm busy all the time and get so much done."

So much of what?

Being busy and being effective are very often different animals. If you're busy with stuff that doesn't really matter it's a much less effective use of your time than concentrating on that which does matter.

Having a full to the brim inbox on a daily basis is a sign that a balance needs to be redressed.

It's easy of course to blame others. However we can also become part of the problem and not the solution if we act and use email the same way most others do.

The Road to Email Sanity

To work in a better way we need to adopt better practices ourselves.

We need to lead by example.

We need to become email renegades.

Note - This post is a short extract from the book Frictionless Email - Simple Ways to Inbox Zero.

Carl is the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. He is also the author of several books including 22 Ways to Happier, 22 Ways to Simpler Living and Frictionless Email. To read more and/or contact him go to his site.