Inbox zero just means that I have filled up the todo list.

Inbox zero just means that I have filled up the todo list. In this particular instance, my Gmail inbox is completely empty, and my todo list (kept in Github) has about 60 items on it, some of which have been on there for a year.

At some point you get to the state where there’s one mostly-empty place and one mostly-full one, and the only way to reduce the total number of things outstanding is to copy items from one to the other, empty one of the buckets completely, and hope that you can avoid recopying by just doing things.

I find that my electronic record-keeping of things to do only goes so far, and from time to time I have to get away completely from electronica and sit down with pen and paper and write up the things that appear only on paper. It’s like there’s a separate queue for that stuff and the way to empty it out of my brain into a computer is via a paper intermediary. I wonder how many other environments that I could be in that would unearth new tasks.

I don’t know yet what the correct high water and low water marks are on my issue list. Having 60 things to do seems like too few, and when I hit 100 a few months ago it seemed overwhelming. At 60 I figure I should be able to sit somewhere and brainstorm some goals that will take a while to accomplish (e.g. more durable than “do laundry”) and stretch to reach something.

List-keeping is one of those dreadful refinements of modern life, where you have an extended amount of effort spent tracking what you’re doing vs. actually doing it. Yet without somewhere to dump the list I would have no idea what I’m not doing right now.

Related articles

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inbox zero just means that my todo list is full
“issue tracker”, a github project for personal productivity
Coping with Email Overload: Which “In-Boxer” type are you?
Task surfing, which is to say not multitasking, with github

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