Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

email procrastination

 This has been a huge issue for me - procrastinating responses to any email that takes thought or action, using Inbox to store an ever-increasing backlog. @ 40-60 work-related emails a day, that got out of hand quickly. Last month I started almost every day facing a backlog of ~400 emails! Never again, with HP and PA's help.  

I had to let go alot of the backlog without resolving or addressing it - things like my professional journals that I'll never have time to read, vendor announcements that might (or not) have The Answer to something I need, etc.  I had to trust my HP to alert me to which backlogged items had already died from benign neglect, which needed to be scheduled as a Task with a dated/timed reminder, and which needed to be addressed NOW.  I spent most of the last three weeks doing that.

To manage incomings, I set some goals:

  • read all emails in the daypart they arrive (morning, afternoon)
  • cancel email subscriptions that I haven't used in the last 6 months (goal: reduce this to 3 months)
  • never end the workday with more that 25 items in my Inbox.
  • In Week 2 I reduced that to 10, then in Week 3 it's down to 5 which feels great.
Observation: I felt actual withdrawals! I realized that I check email compulsively on my smartphone every 5-10 minutes and that I felt distinct disappointment that there was no work backlog to read, review, anguish over, affirm my ego-importance, or otherwise distract me.
Interestingly, while I dug into the issue at my work, my personal email server choked on its 400+ backlog and started returning all my incoming emails to their senders as undeliverable! So that will be my next effort: apply the same principles and similar goals to managing my personal email better.
Anyone else care to share their experience, strength and hope with regard to email procrastination?