So I’m going to take a day off from writing short stories to rant about emails. I tend to sort my emails into general categories, and determine whether to read them based on what category they fall into.
Spam (From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: 3nl4rg3 j00r p3n15)
These are spam messages. They are almost never opened, unless I want to get a good laugh out of how much bigger I could make various body appendages.
Updates and Deals/Advertisements (From: Cheap-4-U Deals Subject: Save 11% on Brazilian waxes when you bring a friend!)
These aren’t spam, but most of the time I treat them as such. They are almost never opened unless they pertain to something super relevant. Most of the time, I can get the gist from the title of the email without ever needing to read them.
Facebook (That one friend you haven’t talked to in five years has just poked you!)
These are almost always deleted, except for wall posts, which I will read in email format if I don’t want to be bothered to visit Facebook.
Important emails (From: My girlfriend Subject: Innocuous title that could have deeper unpleasant implications!)
Girlfriend messages are always read.
Replies (From: Professor Subject: Re: your unexcused absence in my class)
Replies are always read.
But here’s the annoying category:
Messages that are important enough that they should be read, but pertain to vaguely uncomfortable life decisions (From: Graduate program that raises feelings of unworthiness Subject: Information to know about applying to us, better have references lined up!)
These messages are too important to ignore or delete completely, but I don’t want to open or read them – they just take too much effort! I don’t want to have to invest this much energy and worry in an email, so I tend to simply ignore them. This results in them piling up in my inbox, still at the top of the stack, still patiently waiting to be opened, but never actually touched. This, dear readers, is my procrastination.
Horrible news? I’ll read it and groan. Great news? I’ll read it and cheer. Slightly disappointing news? I will leave it alone, never reading it, and put it off forever.