I spend a lot of time focusing on the number 0. Zero calorie sweeteners, 0% APR, and even Zero Dark Thirty.
As it relates to work, my focus on this particular numerical digit has been almost exclusively in reference to my e-mail inbox. At the end of each work day, I confront my inbox, doing my best to sort through the masses of unread messages, filing ones of importance, and tossing all others. Until recently, Inbox Zero was my end of day workplace ritual; Merlin Mann was my leader, and SaneBox my prayerbook of an app.
But who am I kidding? I’m far from a minimalist – my office alone might qualify me for A&E’s Hoarders. Fixating on the number zero has proven ineffective, which is why I’ve decided to invent a new trend in productivity. I’m calling it Inbox 90 (trademark pending).
The idea is that instead of trying to narrow your end-of-day focus to a small list of things, put productivity to the test by splitting your attention amongst 90 different things.
Drawing inspiration from the concept of multi-tasking in the workplace, coupled with the need to appear more productive and important, here are some of the need-to-know components of Inbox 90:
- Overshare - If you have 90 e-mails, or 190 e-mails, the world should know about it. The more you share with your colleagues about the volume of e-mail you receive daily, in specific quantities, the more important you’ll appear. (I’ve already told 6 people about the 90 e-mails sitting in my inbox right now.)
- Reply All – On a slow day that only produces a small volume of e-mail, make it your job to “reply-all” when the opportunity presents itself. Not only will you be filling your own inbox with responses from people who also choose to reply-all, but you’ll be helping them reach their 90 e-mail quota, too.
- Calendar Invites – If you’re at 85 unread e-mails, and are just looking for 5 more e-mails to reach 90, send calendar invites for a series of 15-minute meetings to 5 people, and wait patiently for confirmation of their response. Have fun with it by inviting each of your five potential attendees to five completely different, completely worthless events.
For a snapshot of just how important I am, take a look at the screenshot I captured from my computer last week.