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Mark Cuban, a man unburdened by guilt over unanswered emails.

Like any good member of the proletariat who wants nothing more than to serve capitalism, I am always looking for ways to be more productive at work. And one area where I have more than a lot of room for improvement is keeping up with email.

Look, I could be worse. I’m fairly organized — I use the tabbed Gmail inbox with a healthy number of colored labels and filters. At one point, I even maintained inbox zero, but those days are long gone. My problem is I still let emails slip through the cracks unanswered, occasionally causing problems. I recently searched my sent emails for the term “sorry” and found more than I wish to admit in which I said some version of “sorry for the late reply.”

What trips me up most is my habit of scanning my inbox, often on my phone, opening an email, reading it, and thinking, “I’ll reply to that later when I’m at my computer and/or not in the middle of this other project and can give a full reply.” Then I leave it marked as “read” and forget about it. I check my inbox constantly, but I only actually deal with my emails in a deliberate way during a few dedicated chunks of my day.

My email situation isn’t the worst. I’ve seen people with HORRIFYING numbers of unread emails. I typically only hover around 1,000, but it causes me stress and it’s not helping me do my best work. I would like to live my best life. I would like to…

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