I have returned from my trip (which was awesome) and have resumed writing!
And back to a horrifying 144 emails. For much of my trip, I was either in an internet vacuum, or I was on an e-mail fast, so they stacked up pretty quickly (although, I did connect mid-way and deleted as many non-important messages as possible, which is why this large number feels so overwhelming).
When I finally had time to sit down and look at all the little messages crying for my attention, I felt somewhat panicked. I don't randomly subscribe to stuff – if its coming into my in box, it is because I WANT it to … which means that each post had value and therefore, requires TIME.
Part of the problem is that I have 4 people who regularly post on different, but related subjects. I was trying to go through the e mails sequentially, from oldest to newest, and it just wasn't working for me, I think because I was switching topics between these four authors. It felt like a kid during a birthday party where he gets 20 gifts and is pressured to open them all, one right after another. There's no time to actually absorb the information or even appreciate it.
What I decided to do (that immediately made me feel better) was to create a couple of folders to hold these ideas and to schedule three different time periods to give them each individual attention. So right now, I am scanning each message to see if it is relevant to where I am currently (or will be in the near future) and I am either tossing them, or filing them, with the caveat that I will go through them within the next week and give them the attention they deserve.
The issue / realization on my end is that I cannot THINK when there is too much – in my house, in my in box, in my mind. To do well and move forward, I simply MUST declutter somehow.
My guess is that you are not all that different. What is one thing in your life that you can streamline today, with minimal effort? Do it. I guarantee you will feel lighter and more motivated to live well.