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If You Want To Like Yourself, Do Not Organize Your Email

by Alex Iwashyna

in Is It Just Me?, Progressive Politics

I was under the impression that organizing would be good for me.  A quick Google search show that there are at least 200 organization sites devoted to LYING TO ME.

I have had my email organized for months with automatic filters into fantastic folders that should improve everything in m life.

Aren't these labels beautiful?

Sure, organizing my email has meant that I pay my bills on time instead of watching them slow drift to the bottom of my screen until I shoot up out of bed in a panic at 2 a.m. wondering when that Discover Card bill was due.

And every comment to What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? went into my RECIPES folder, which has allowed me to cook every suggestion that wasn’t ridiculous or gross.

Most importantly, I’m not deathly afraid to click on the ALEX: REPLY TODAY folder.


But overall, my new organized email system has ruined my life.

I’m subscribed to a lot of TAKE ACTION AGAINST OPPRESSION newsletters. They vary from local gay rights issues to international political prisoners. And I’m proud to be on these email lists because annoying my Congresspeople and random dictators across the global makes me smile.

In my organizing glee, I created a folder for all my political and social email lists called I CARE.

Except, when I sign into my gmail account, I CARE is telling me that I should have named it I DON’T REALLY CARE THAT MUCH EXCEPT IT’S NICE TO HAVE LESS EMAILS CLOGGING UP MY INBOX.

Those are 27 unread emails that I CARE about when it's really, really convenient.

No matter how often I shake my fist at my computer and yell STOP RUINING MY LIBERAL TAKE ACTION CRED, GMAIL! nothing changes.

I can only see two choice…

I either unorganize my TAKE ACTION emails.

Or face the truth.

Organizing has ruining my life.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie June 6, 2011 1

You’re hilarrryyyiious. I hope you conveniently take action soon.


Ilana June 7, 2011 2

SO do you just delete stuff after you read it? Because that is my problem. I have no folders and don’t delete anything. I more disorganized than person on earth and I fear for anything to improve I might have to open up a new email account.

As for “caring”, I find that once you give to something, they will call you on the phone or send you snail mail. So give to all your causes and then mark them as spam. Guaranteed you’ll be hearing from them anyway.
Ilana recently posted..Parenthood Quantified


Ilana June 7, 2011 3

Did that just make me sound like a horrible person? I care! I do!
Ilana recently posted..Parenthood Quantified


Alison@Mama Wants This June 7, 2011 4

I gave up organizing. Everything just stays in the inbox, read and unread. Important and not so. Spam gets deleted quickly because I have an irrational hatred for spam trying to sell me Viagra or penis enlargement paraphernalia.

But your labels – so beautiful! And so many!
Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..VlogTalk- The most annoying toy EVER


AKeo June 7, 2011 5

You can always count on organization to make you feel bad about yourself. Of course, I don’t think that’s its original intention. Somewhere along the way, it turns on you.


Abby June 7, 2011 6

I’m an organizer. And a deleter. But I’m not as worldy aware as you are, so I don’t get spam like that.

However, gmail always successfully moves the “enlarge your penis by taking these pills” emails into my spam folder. And for that, I am thankful.
Abby recently posted..World News with Scooter Cat


Sarah June 7, 2011 7

I can organize, but I cannot delete. No matter what, I can’t seem to delete it. Since I spend so much of my time organizing my work email, I leave my personal email as is. Which is bad. I don’t even want to begin organizing that crap. Ugh. I need to, however.
Sarah recently posted..Under Siege


KLZ June 7, 2011 8

OR maybe they are sending you too many emails? Huh? Huh?
KLZ recently posted..A Very Merry Unbirthday


Walt June 7, 2011 9

Organize, Schmorganize. You’re fine, I’m telling you. You have a nice set of folders. You might need one that says “Shopping” and one that says “Sex”.
But who am I to say? Shalom.
Walt recently posted..My Vacuum Called a Time Out


Linda June 7, 2011 10

Thank god for this. I was going to get organized today. Now I don’t need to bother.

Love your column!


Skye June 7, 2011 11

I used to be signed up for a bunch of those emails too! I would ignore them (but often star them, so I’d have hundreds of starred emails) and then feel like a horrible person because I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to them all and take action that many times. Eventually I unsubscribed from them all- so I might still be horrible for not taking action, but at least I don’t get reminded of it daily.
Skye recently posted..May in Review


liz June 7, 2011 12

I think I’d be so scared that things were getting filed correctly that that alone would put me over the edge. :)
liz recently posted..Pause Life for a Moment


Suniverse June 7, 2011 13

I just remind myself that tomorrow is another day.

Suniverse recently posted..Never again Yes- I know I say that every time- but Im serious now


Katie June 7, 2011 14

I stopped reading after seeing all those folders.

mine is just a big long pile of opened messages that I may or may not have replied to and/or don’t know if I should or should not keep.
Katie recently posted..welcome to vlog talk


Kelley June 7, 2011 15

I am hyperventilating over here!! I have over 10,000 e-mails in my inbox. For real. I hate organizing my e-mail. It’s too far gone.

Someone get me an oxygen mask.


Martha June 7, 2011 16

I have unsubscribed from all those email lists. My mom forwards all that stuff to me anyway, and then I delete it.
Martha recently posted..The Dilemma- Race vs Status


Miranda June 7, 2011 17

How did you do that? Please teach me to be a super rock star email organizer. Ruined life and all.


By Word of Mouth Musings June 7, 2011 18

i was going to ask you to move in with me and get me that organised list … but then reading on thro your torture …
decided I was tortured enough ;)


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