Stop worrying and learn to love your overflowing email inbox

A new movement known as "inbox infinity" is taking off
Tired of being overwhelmed by your overflowing inbox? Then just ignore it. (Shutterstock)

This story was originally published on Jan. 18, 2019.

Did you start the new year with hundreds, or even thousands, of unread emails in your inbox?

Did you resolve to address them to achieve that lofty ideal of "inbox zero" — and keep it that way?

Does the thought of even starting to wade through messages from marketers, online stores, and nosy relatives raise a feeling of panic?

Then just stop. There's a new movement for you: inbox infinity.

Subscribing to Inbox Infinity means letting go of one of the most cherished notions of the so-called golden age of productivity.

Inbox zero would have you reply to, or at least address, all the emails in your inbox by the end of each day.

André Spicer recently wrote about the issue for The Guardian.
Andre Spicer (Cass Business School)

Spicer is a professor of organizational behaviour at the Cass Business School, City, University of London.

The term "inbox zero" was coined by productivity guru Merlin Mann, who was a frequent guest on Spark back in the day.

But there has been a backlash against inbox zero.

The idea of "inbox infinity" gained momentum this month with an article in The Atlantic suggesting we resolve to be less responsive to emails — not more, as is often the case.

Spicer told told Spark host Nora Young that ignoring your email comes with certain risks, such as missing important messages, but he endorses the movement.

"There's something really liberating about the idea of just forgetting about the number of emails in your inbox, and instead of trying to kind of drain the ocean, you actually just let it wash over you — just let these emails come in and just assume that there are going to always be too many for you to deal with.

"And once you assume that, it sort of lifts this burden off your shoulder," he said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?