Step Outside Your Inbox

Does it drive you crazy that you can never get your email inbox all done? If so, you’ll definitely want to take a moment to read this article, and free yourself in a new way.

If you happen to be on an eternal quest to have no unread emails in your inbox, I have a personal story to tell you that cured me of just that notion.

It was a sad time for me, because it was the month my father passed away.

One of the tasks I took on to help my mother was his office, which of course, included his email.

I noticed the to-do list on his desk right away. Just the sight of my Dad’s last to-do list in his own handwriting stopped me in my tracks.

There were notes about sending certain people emails and following up on ones he’d received. It was in that moment that I had a poignant realization:


This continued to become even more clear as I set out to follow-up on his emails that had been collecting plus letting his contacts know what had happened. In the days that followed, the email flow didn’t stop and continued to be delivered without end, even though he was gone.

So, the lesson for me was this:

No matter how diligent we are at keeping our inbox empty, our unanswered emails, incomplete errands and unreturned phone calls will outlive us.

YET, we act as if we WILL actually get to the bottom of it at some point, but usually at the expense of what actually matters. So we work tirelessly to complete something that will literally never be complete.

(Go back and read those last two sentences again right now. Really take that IN for a minute.)


One of the gifts of the pandemic quarantine is that many of us have awakened to the need for a new method of time management and ultimately, managing ourselves.

Ending email guilt is a great place to start! You cannot focus on what really matters when you are bogged down with guilt.

So, instead of email, I would like to invite you to start your day with things that are most important to your personal mission and core values, like relationships, your health, passions, and things that bring you joy including making a difference.

Activities that facilitate our contribution to our own values and the world should be top on our priority list. These are not someday projects!

If you’ve found yourself in uncertain territory as our world continues to unfold, I can help. We are all feeling it and you’re not alone. I’ve helped many clients find the path that is right for them in the face of challenging circumstances. Please reach out for support, whether career related, or otherwise.

And if you know a friend or neighbor who could use hearing the advice in this article, please forward this to them too.




Helping burned out, success-driven professionals design careers that make them leap out of bed, even on Monday mornings.

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Barb Garrison

Barb Garrison

Helping burned out, success-driven professionals design careers that make them leap out of bed, even on Monday mornings.

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