Some time ago, I read “How to be idle” by Tom Hodgkinson of “The Idler” magazine. One of his observations particularly struck me and has stayed with me ever since. Hodgkinson notes how we, as humans, seem to have a propensity for creating massive problems and then congratulating ourselves when we find overly complex solutions to the problems that we caused in the first place. This astute insight seems especially apt with regards to email. We create lots of email traffic and then try to find ways of dealing with it, rather than simply creating less in the first place (ditto many technologies. Trying to figure out how to “manage” my Facebook account was one of several clear signals that I should just close it). Despite my quest to simplify my life, I find myself with four email accounts: two for work, two personal ones. After months of procastination, I today began the slow process of shifting one work account to the other. This should be fairly straightforward, leaving me with the same amount of traffic but at least it’ll all be in the same place. I’m still left with questions about what to do with my personal accounts. One was set up but is rarely used, so this seems the obvious one to delete. However, it’s also the one configured to my phone; my other one can’t do that at present, nor can I check it on my mobile’s internet browser. This leaves me with the rather more daunting prospect of trying to amalgamate all my personal emails to the less used account – a nightmare, as I discovered when making a similar switch only last year. It seems that email woes are never far from my door. My zero-inbox dreams, achieved occasionally and fleetingly, seem distant. Then I watch the news and see happenings in Norway and the horn of Africa and think get a grip. My email angst means absolutely nothing. It’s just a problem that I’ve created and that I can then congratulate myself on solving in order to avoid having to think about real problems that we have all created and cannot bring ourselves to find answers to.


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