Fresh Start: The Email DMZ
Merlin Mann | Jan 4 2006
Like a lot of the best fresh starts, this one's a total psych-out; also, like most of the best ones, you won't believe how well it works until you actually try it for yourself.
Is this the email equivalent of covering your ears and singing loudly? Not really. You still need to deal with all the emails in your DMZ folder (personally I'd recommended "archiving" anything older than 21 days), but, most importantly, you're drawing a line in the sand. You're saying "Okay, starting this minute I quit letting 'being behind' stop me from making good decisions now and going forward." Hence the "fresh start." Get it? Tomorrow morning you arrive to a spanking fresh inbox and the chance to start anew. Of course, using your fresh start to develop an actual new habit is entirely optional, but it's certainly more reachable than ever now, right? Right.
Basically, this works at accomplishing the one thing you need more than anything else right now: to stop digging.
Think about it: how much stuff in your life has gotten unmanageable simply because you decided at some point that you were too behind to ever make a difference? More than anything you need a way to recover these projects from the brink -- to find the handle that lets you stop making it worse and start seeing a way back toward daylight.
(On another day, I'll tell you my super-secret way of paring down the biggest DMZ folder to empty in 15 minutes.)
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