That is the number of e-mails in my work Inbox. It has only taken me just over 3 years to accumulate those emails! Impressive, eh???!!! Maybe not so much…..When I announced this to my tech savvy US office mate, he baulked at the thought I could have so many emails in my account, and asked me if I had heard of the concept of folders, and saving the important e-mails to those folders, whilst deleting the rest. Of course I have heard of that concept and I do employ it!  It’s just that I get sooooo many emails, it’s impossible to delete them all, especially when I am working from my BlackBerry in the afternoon (deletion is much more complex and time consuming on BlackBerrys.  Deletion is like snail mail: 3-4 keys must be pressed as opposed to the 1 on a keyboard!).

Now that I think about it, I actually delete a lot of my emails.  In fact, given the amount I delete, I think I am doing pretty good to have only 10k+ messages in my Inbox.  I delete emails in which I am not interested. I delete emails to which I have responded (usually some form of rejection), and of course I delete spam.

I repeat, I delete most of the useless stuff that comes through. However my office (which is resisting moving into the 21st century with the ferocity of an octogenarian refusing to give up their zimmerframe, and sit in a wheelchair) does not see the point of proper firewalls (most probably because they do not understand their importance.  Indeed, I believe the main reason behind not blocking most junk is because they are afraid they might lose clients .  Really????  Ahem, a thought: If emails are blocked by the  IT system, are you sure you want the senders of those e-mails as clients???).

As a result, the firm’s email system is forced to endure a relentless onslaught of sales pitches from sellers of performance enhancing drugs (and I am not talking about the kind that will help you win a gold medal at the Olympics – still in doubt? Starts with ‘v’ and ends in ‘gra’.  There are the emails about anatomical enlargements (never reductions!), and of course the old ‘give us your bank account details and we will transfer 50% of Libya’s [or insert the name of any other resource rich/despotic nation] oil reserves to you’.

My response to my office mate was that there is, according to DH, a programme which archives the e-mails and allows you access to search as and when you need it.  If I had this, my Inbox would look so much more healthy!  He was not so impressed by this response and declared me beyond all salvation!

OK, I admit it.  I am a hoarder.  I hoard everything.  I hoard mementoes, photos, bus and train tickets from our summer trips home, our flight tickets, every piece of writing/artwork my children produce. My kitchen cupboards look like they were stocked by someone who is planning on feeding a famine stricken country.  I buy multiples of everything including toothpaste, loo roll, Organix rice cakes,shampoo, and shower gel.  I could probably open my own ‘Pound Shop’ and re-sell the toiletries, and still have enough left over for me.  I could supply a teacher supply store with my stash of pens, pencils and paper……Even my ovaries sensed my hoarding trait, and obliged me by popping out twin eggs!

And so it seems my approach to life in general has filtered into my work life: Hence the overflowing Inbox.  What can I say?  At least it’s all virtual.  It would be a real problem if I were hoarding the paper equivalent of those emails.  If that were the case, I would be single handedly responsible for the destruction of an entire rainforest (and not able to get to my desk)!   You gotta love e-mail.  One day I just might need to search for a needle in that haystack…..and it will be possible to do so with one mouse-click!

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