Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Boundaries of time

If you watched the John Cleese video I posted recently (I've watched it several times), you will recall that Cleese said that to be creative, we have to set up boundaries of time and boundaries of space.

I can't do much about boundaries of space right now. I have 4 kids, a husband, a dog, and a small house. But I have started working on the boundaries of time.

One of the first ways I've begun to set up boundaries of time is to unsubscribe from emails. I get many subscription emails that I don't have time to read. Just the time spent clicking "delete" is a waste of time. The solution is to unsubscribe - but if it's important to me, I can subscribe in an e-reader. That way, I can go in and read them when I have time.

Another thing I've done is unsubscribe from most sales/retail emails. If they don't tempt me to spend money, once I click through to their retail website I've gone off-track from what I was online to accomplish.

In addition to unsubscribing from subscription and retail emails, I've set up a filter in my email so Fwd emails from certain people go straight to the Junk folder. Some of my friends only send me the most hilarious or meaningful emails. I'm not talking about those. These friends are a joy. It's the folks who only check their email about once or twice a month and decide that they must forward every "funny" or "Anti-Obama" email they have received. That means I get 8-10 from one source alone, and all at once.

That's just too much. I just don't have time to be a forwarded email clearinghouse. My guess is that the same people who send these emails have trouble throwing anything away. Their house must be even more cluttered than mine!

To most people, it's no big deal to let emails sit unopened. You can get to them when you get to them, right? But in my mind, and I don't know if this is an artist thing or not - the long list of emails to be opened is like a huge to-do list. It will really hang over my head until every one of them is opened and dealt with in some manner. It's like electronic clutter.

So I really try to think about it before I send any email forwards. Is it really going to benefit this person if I send this? If it's not really going to help them in any way, I don't send it.

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