Monday, May 11, 2009

Celebrating the Small Achievements

One thing that you learn from being on a project that is going down in flames is to celebrate those small achievements, because sometimes that's the only momentum keeping you from stalling out in a particularly dead and depressing way.
It is on that note that I announce a comparative triumph over my gmail.  I had accumulated over 1900 messages in my inbox.  Yeah, I know.  That's a lot, huh?  And that's since January, when I had about 20 in there.  And no, that doesn't count spam.  Spam gets deleted every day or two, and in addition I try to read and delete things like white paper abstracts, professional invitations, professional newsletters, alumni updates, and LinkedIn mail on a daily basis.  So those are actual e-mails, most of them from human beings I know personally or professionally.  Scary, huh?
During all the chaos and horror that's been going on over the last two weeks, I've often had small chunks of time that were only about a minute long.  As much as I'd like to be a GTD Lifehacker, unfortunately I find it distracting to do something real and meaningful for a minute in the middle of another task.  So instead of using that time to do something constructive at the office, I've been going through the unreal and meaningless task of deleting or archiving a few of my gmail e-mails.
I'm now down to 80 e-mails, which is pretty good.  Some of them are things I still need to do something with, which is scary, because I don't want to delete them until I finish whatever the thing is (looking into why I'm still getting charged for cable, taking a free online course, making sure I got credit for a course I already took, etc.).  Then again, if some of those things take a minute or two, maybe I can keep reducing it....

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