The Myth of Inbox Zero (Or, For That Matter, Perpetual Happiness)
I don’t believe there is such a thing as Inbox Zero.
I think it’s one of those Holy Grail type of scenarios - we keep searching for it, but we’ll never find it, because, in all probability, it doesn’t actually exist. Just like there’s no Ark of the Covenant, no Loch Ness Monster, and no better football team than the 2003-2004 Arsenal Invincibles. (Yes, I said it.)
But while it may not be practically possible to get to Inbox Zero, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue it.
In fact, the pursuit is the point. Because it forces us to be deliberate about what we focus on, what we prioritize and what we don’t. It compels us to become more efficient, to look for new ways to tackle everything on our plates, to become better organized in the process. It also pushes us to take stock of and address (in one way or another) those things are aren’t worth our time, and, in doing so, clearly communicate that to the outside world, and to ourselves.
Of course, while we pursue Inbox Zero, we need to also, at a more philosophical level, come to terms with the very fact that we will never really get there. Which, I accept isn’t an easy thing, but it’s important. It’s an acceptance that life is imperfect, that we will never get everything we want, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be content with ourselves or accepting of where we are.
It’s kind of like something Mick Jagger once said, that just because we’ll never achieve perpetual happiness, doesn’t mean we should stop striving for it.
Because at the end of the day, to quote my colleague, Subash Chandar, “Happiness is a state of mind”.
Much like Inbox Zero.