Dan Sweet

Hitting the reset button.

I sometimes find it difficult to stay current with all of the blogs I read, email I receive, and other news I like to follow. I just started my post b-school job as a finance manager yesterday, and have been using the last week or two to try to get caught up on the Google Reader and email fronts in anticipation of that.

One of my 2009 goals was to end each day with an empty inbox. That worked for me, even with a newborn, for the first 3-4 months of 2009. The newborn thing actually helped because what else is there to do when you are up at 3am? Then we started looking for houses and getting more actively engaged in the relocation process and it all went out the window. However, I’m back under 50 messages in the inbox after dedicating a couple solid hours to deleting, archiving, and unsubscribing.

However, Google Reader has been haunting me. I didn’t look at it for ten days or so and I came back to find 900+ “new items”. Digging a little deeper it turns out the real culprit is a recent subscription to Zero Hedge that I had added that was contributing 400+ of those items. The real problem is that I constantly find fascinating stuff in ZH posts. This morning though I had to admit defeat and hit the reset button. I hit “mark all as read” on Zero Hedge and my unread items instantly fell from 600+ to only 219. It felt awesome. As I’ve typed this post I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to see a nice big zero for total unread items. Hold on, one more click (and another to confirm that yes I am that crazy) and bam, ZERO unread items!

This is a little trick I learned from David Allen Greene, the author of Getting Things Done. He advocates doing the same thing with your email. His argument is that if you haven’t written back in 2 weeks, or a month, or 6 months it must not have really been that important that you reply. This can obviously get a little tricky with email but in the Google Reader context it makes perfect sense to get familiar with the reset button. The tools we have are supposed to empower us not burden us. Get familiar with the reset buttons you have available to you and make use of them. You will free up all kinds of mental energy you are currently wasting on things that don’t really matter.

Give it a shot and leave a comment below with how this works for you.

4 Comments

  1. […] s Enterprise Strategy Ten Mac tools for Getting Things Done Syncing iCal with Google Calendar Hitting the reset button. – afinanceguy.com 06/30/2009 I sometimes find it difficult to stay current with all of the […]

  2. Bev says:

    Getting my inbox and my Google Reader to zero is a goal I’ve been working towards for the past year. I am aquainted with the “mark all read” button, but it’s REALLY REALLY HARD to click it!!! Maybe it’s because I’m such a control freak…..

  3. Bev says:

    Getting my inbox and my Google Reader to zero is a goal I’ve been working towards for the past year. I am aquainted with the “mark all read” button, but it’s REALLY REALLY HARD to click it!!! Maybe it’s because I’m such a control freak…..

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