I saw this on Facebook today and, thankfully, it's also on their blog. I've always liked the idea of "Inbox Zero" and have even gotten my inbox to zero a few times since I started (mostly)-seriously using GTD. Sadly, I'm not there anymore due to how crazy work has been the last few months, but I'm thankful that I'm not this guy. It's a good read:
Dealing with a Sea of Backlog (via the GTD Times blog)
This smart, savvy executive had no idea how to effectively use a tool through which major business decisions were being made. He had no email pending or reference folders set up, and he had stored every saved email in his inbox. As a result, he had more than 87,000 emails, spanning over 14 years, sitting as an amorphous pile of stress in his inbox.
Amorphous pile of stress indeed.
I do have a few other mailboxes (mostly mailing lists) that I need to apply the "Inbox Zero" principle to.
I also know plenty of people that could seriously learn about filters and deleting email. I've got friends that have as many emails in their inbox as this guy does (the idea is to keep everything in the inbox and use no other folders... I suppose they think it's clever and makes it easy to find stuff, I call it insanity). Actually, oddly enough, most of the people I know outside of work do this.
Anyways, interesting read for those of you unnecessarily drowning in a multi-thousand-count inbox.