Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You have 120 new mail

If you are doing something that interests others, you'll get mails.

Sometimes much more than you'd prefer. And sometimes you just don't want to spend your time with them. It's OK.

What's not OK is the way many of us responds to this situation: don't check mail. I did it for a couple of days and did not miss the mail grind.

The result: 120 new mail when I logged in. OK, almost half of them informed me about penis enlargement methods and "the greatest way to get C!alIs". But the other half was real mail. That's a lot. Some of them were more then a week old. Some of them were important for me, and I missed them. I missed them because I could not handle the others.

Never again! Here comes the ultimate goblinish mail handling method: don't. I don't have to bother with other people's problems. They don't pay me. I owe them nothing. So from now on, I'll have a very effective and anti-social mail policy that will keep my mail handled and stress-free:
  • I check mail every day. Maybe more than once, but there won't be a day without mail check (except days when I have no access to internet).
  • I process every mail when I log in. The inbox folder must be empty when I log out.
  • It's not my obligation to carefully answer every mail came from blog readers or RL people. If I find the request interesting, I answer. If I don't, I simply move it to the "99% chance to never read again but maybe I change my mind" folder.
  • If the mail has leetspeak, primitive language ("cud u pls tell me how2make gold with BS"), delete them.
I know that I'll lose some readers because of that. But my own time is more important than reader count (especially when readers are in pretty large supply).

If you also have mail or /w or RL request problems (meaning other people keep asking help from you), just say no! Their problem is theirs, not yours. Don't get stressed, overworked or miss important things because of other people. Your work, your time, your call!

That's the goblin way!

PS: so if you don't get your mail answered in a day (2 days with lag and all), it simply did not interest me. And I'm not even pretending to be sorry.

PS2: by sending a letter to this blog's e-mail, you agree that your mail can be used as blog material.


Anonymous said...

Right on!

Quill2006 said...

Obviously I'm not being very goblin-y by handing out free advice, but I get a TON of mailing lists that are related to my work but that I don't actually HAVE to read. I also have my personal email, my work email, my "junk" email, and several other email accounts.

In order to deal with the crapload of emails I get, I got a Gmail account (actually, several of them are at Gmail) and I associated all of the email accounts with my main Gmail account.

Gmail allows you to receive email from other accounts, just like most email providers, but it also allows you to SEND email from those associated accounts. Essentially, once you set it up, you only have to log in once to see all your email.

Set up each account with its own label, and they come in color-coded so that you know which ones should be read right away, which ones you can wait a bit on, and which ones, if you aren't in an email reading mood, you can delete.

If you set up an account for this site and associated it with your main account, you would be easily able to sort it without even having to read the subject lines.

There are probably other ways to do the same thing, but this has worked well for me.

Grorg said...

I know that frustration and I think you are doing it right.
"I simply move it to the "99% chance to never read again but maybe I change my mind" folder"
I have a similar one... it is called "Deleted" folder. With 120 a day, if you did not answer it immediately it will be lost in the sea of e-mails. Just delete them.
Good luck.

Wooly said...

* If the mail has leetspeak, primitive language ("cud u pls tell me how2make gold with BS"), delete them.

Can't help but think this is still way too friendly.

Carra said...

Tsss, it's missing something. Mails that do not interest you should just get replied to with "Fuck off". Saves you from future mails.

Galyan said...

@Carra Even better, after sending the Fuck Off email, add them to the spam list.

Gibbiex said...

I have this problem at work (actually a huge problem); people are always coming to me for things that are way outside my job description. I simply refer the person to the appropriate contact. I used to feel guilty, but I'm not being paid to be their wet nurse. This is very goblinish IMO. Always ask yourself what you get out of it. There is such a thing as collegiality, but so often that is exploited.

Leifo of Kargath said...

You're describing a method that I've been using for some time now, which is based on the "GTD" system ("Getting Things Done") evangelized by one David Allen. He has a great book talking about how knowledge work is different from the physical labor that most people used to think of (and get paid for) as jobs.

For email as for every task that crosses your plate, he basically says you do three things.
1) Process it.
2) If you can do it right now in the next 2 minutes, do it. In the case of emails, that's reading and digesting it, with perhaps a quick reply.
3) If you can't do it right now, then take the less-than-2-minutes it takes to file it. For emails, that means filing it in an @Action folder for responding, thinking about, or whatever... or creating a Task with a due date as to when you'll respond... or in many cases junking it immediately.

Very quickly you have a clean inbox, a list of emails to respond to when you decide you have time to respond to emails, possibly a set of new tasks prioritized for the emails that are actually important things, and spam/undesirable/short emails all deleted or in your "99% unlikely to read again" storage.

I consider it a goblin virtue to treat tasks like inbox clearing with shovels, not teaspoons. Process each email, determine its importance, and get it out of sight if it's not right-now important.

highlatencylife said...

They want help, you can give it. Start Charging people!

Anonymous said...

Depending on your email client, you might want to check up on Xobni (http://www.xobni.com1) if you are using Outlook or ReBoxed ( if you are using GMail.

These are shameless plugs because I worked with the guys that make both products.

Anonymous said...

A slightly antisocial trick...
Forward your mail to gmail and then forward it back. (automatically) Gmail filters about 99% of penis enlargement spam.

Brasein said...

Gevlon, I think I might just love you.

Hugs and kisses,

A loyal subscriber and aspirant to the goblinish ways.

Noak said...

Reply to every mail asking for help with, "Pay me X amount of money via Paypal and I will help you. Otherwise, fuck off."

Mark them as spam if they say they won't pay but continue asking for help.

DarkKnight said...

Actually, the way you are going to handle your mail, is exactly how I do it. I have Gmail (where all my emailaccounts are forwarded to) open all day long and I respond to an email immediately or just delete it. Nothing in between, keeps it very organized and I should never miss the really important mails.