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Can getting to Zero In-box decrease your stress and make you healthier?

Can getting to Zero In-box decrease your stress and make you healthier?

Posted on June 28, 2014

Getting to Zero In-box when your inbox looks like the one in the picture can be inbox-overflowvery challenging. There are multiple ways in which you can get to Zero Inbox and I have outlined some of these in my earlier posts. My tips have been mostly in the space of improving productivity. However, it is well known that clutter causes stress. If the physical inbox where the paper stuff comes in is down to zero then it is a source of joy.

Every time my desk is clean and the mail is sorted and put into the right folders, I feel a sense of accomplishment/relief/joy. In other words a clean and organized desk is a source of happiness. Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” used to take this to another level. She would not only keep her stuff organized as seen in the title of the book itself, “Clean My Closets” but also volunteer her services to organize her family and friends’ homes.

If you look into Feng Shui, there is a lot of focus on decluttering your space so that there is a flow of positive energy. Karen Kingston, the author of “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever” talks about the reasons why clutter happens in the first place. What are your thought processes that lead to clutter happening.

One of my colleagues, who downsized from a big house to a smaller house by moving to west coast, was telling me about how the spouse who never cooks would store cook books from years and would not throw them away. That was just one example of the collector’s mentality. Because of this collector’s mentality, they were overflowing with stuff and when forced to move they made the easiest decision that many folks make in that situation. They rented a storage space to keep their stuff.

The same thought processes are in place when you let your electronic inboxes cluttered. . There are two emotions that are in play usually.

  1. The thought that you will need this email or this article later –  Collection
  2. The thought that you do not want to deal with this email or article now – Procrastination

How to overcome these emotions is not the focus of this post. The focus is understanding the benefits. Once you know the why then you there are many ways to figure out the what and the how.

Even though there is no brain research that I have come across that links a zero inbox to increased dopamine levels in your brain that are a cause for your happiness, I have a strong hunch that clearing your inbox will decrease your stress and make you healthier.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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