At $150 an Hour, do you Need Psychiatric Help (with E-mail)?

by | Aug 16, 2006 | Tecknowledgy

I’ve already commented several times on our addiction to technology, and, yet, here comes another twist. Just yesterday, a journalist friend of mine directed me to an article making its way across the Web that deals with the psychological interpretation of inbox clutter.

Jeffrey Zaslow of The Wall Street Journal wrote an article, “Inbox Offers up Glimpse of You,” and, although it appeared in The Journal, you do need an online subscription to access it. Instead, it is syndicated in various publications, including Southern California’s Press-Enterprise.

Ok – so just what does a crowded inbox suggest about you and your psyche? Turns out a cluttered inbox means you have “excess baggage.” To quote psychologist Dave Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet Behavior (and check out Mr. Greenfield – his site is full of what he refers to as “Virtual Addiction”:

“If you keep your inbox full rather than empty, it may mean you keep your life cluttered in other ways … do you cling to the past? Do you have a lot of unfinished business in your life?”

On the other hand, if you “obsessively clean out your inbox every 10 minutes, you may be so quick to move on that you miss opportunities and ignore nuances. Or your compulsion for order may be sapping your energy from other endeavors, such as your family.”

Where are these people? Are you one of these people?

I’d like to meet just one who is so obsessive about a crowded workspace that he or she earnestly attends to the online inbox all the time! Either these people don’t have enough to do, or they only get one e-mail every hour.

I’d also like to see a study done on those who call to see if I received their e-mail – you know the ones … they expect an answer right away – like within moments of sending their note.

How do balance your inbox clutter? Do you really think your cluttered e-mail inbox is representative of clutter in other parts of your life?

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