Filing-cabinet Zero?

Well, my experiment with Inbox Zero is going swimmingly (even if I am only five days in).

I was spurred by comments to look at ways to try and use the same strategies for paper–which, I have to say, is an even more oppressive burden than email. We have a big filing cabinet full of stuff that’s organized in rather idiosyncratic ways, and Anne’s and my idiosyncracies don’t always match up exactly to boot.

The specific suggestions that were made don’t necessarily apply–most solutions presume Windows. Still, it got me thinking.

Now it just so happens that the gigantic multi-function device Anne purchased (because she’s on research leave this semester, and expected to do a lot of printing, which meant our little ink-jet MFD wasn’t going to cut it, but I wasn’t going to have two devices taking up space in my office, so we specc’ed a high-speed color laser printer with fax and scanner. Total cost? <$800. Really) not only has an auto-feed scanner, but it will dump the scans to a network share in PDF format.

I spent some time last Friday setting up samba and doing some occasional cursing (some of the configuration you have to do is not well documented–some of the terms they used do not mean the same thing to everyone) but I got it working.

And this morning, I was able to take a couple of nice-to-retain but not vitally important things, shove them in the feeder, scan ’em the shred ’em.

It was very satisfying. Thanks, Dave, for suggesting it.

Handling email differently

I’ve started experimenting with Inbox Zero as a way to handle the email I get.

The idea is simple enough–when you get an email, you deal with it in whatever way it needs to be dealt with–read and reply, delete, otherwise act upon it–and you get it out of your inbox.

Oh, and all those emails currently in your inbox? Well, you can do what I did–browse through them and guess that they were all archiveable–or you can do the “DMZ” folder that they talk about above, or whatever.

But the idea is to get you out of a position where you feel so behind that it’s harder to act.

I’m only about 36 hours into it, but I’m finding it easy to maintain so far, and it’s very freeing. In fact, I want to put this in place with paper mail, too–tuff comes in, it gets read and archived, trashed or acted upon.