Happiness — November 30, 2018
Every Friday, Tuffy fields a question that benefits from his worldly wisdom as #TheMostInterestingRhinoInTheWorld.
This week’s question is: “Hey Tuffy, I’ve got 3,489 unread email messages in my inbox. I’m overwhelmed by email… please help! What are some things I can do to manage my inbox better?”
Tuffy’s answer: “My friend, you are not alone. Email overload is a real thing, and it affects many people. Isn’t it interesting that many of the things that were meant to improve our lives have ended up causing us so much stress? Man, I used to LOVE getting email, but not anymore. I clearly remember the early days of dialup Internet, and those AOL CD-ROMs that flooded my mailbox. I used to log in every 20 minutes to see if I could hear that lovely voice saying “You’ve Got Mail!”, and was rarely disappointed (by the way, show your favorite rhino some love and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, wouldja? I promise a reply. Thanks!). Interesting side note, while most people think that the voice was that of a robot’s or computer’s, it was actually a voice actor named Elwood Edwards. Do you think he’d make a good voice for me if my life story became an animated movie? I digress, sorry. At its peak, the volume of email that I received hit the 12,000 a month mark. Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips that have helped me manage my email inbox a little better, so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.
The first thing that really helped was shutting down my email client and turning off notifications on my phone and computer, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to keep checking my email. These days, I only check my email 3 times a day – once in the morning, once just after lunch and once after dinner. I figure that if someone really needs to get a hold of me, they’ll text or call me, and keeping that schedule, while difficult at first, has really helped me manage my email anxiety.
The next thing I did was to try to institute an “inbox zero’ approach. That meant that I would try to address the email to me the day it arrived and archive it, and if I didn’t, either because it wasn’t relevant to me or it was some scam artist trying to tell me that I’ve inherited a fortune, I’d delete it and forget it. That tip has worked really well for me, except for that one time that my Aunt Bethilda actually did leave me a small fortune, but being the eccentric lady that she was, she instructed the executor of her will to email me to let me know that the prince of an exotic kingdom had died and left me lots of money. Fortunately, he followed up on the phone later to let me know, or I would have lost out on the inheritance she left me. That would have made her laugh more than the email, I think.
One other thing that has reduced my email anxiety a lot is periodically unsubscribing from newsletters and mailing lists that I don’t care to read anymore. I’d say I do it every 3 months, and it has made email more manageable and a bit more pleasant for me. After all, there are only so many times I need to read about CNC routers, fishing gear, running shoes and performance bits for my 911 in a week, and there’s no shortage of email messages containing offers for these things every day.
Well, my friend, I hope that these tips provide you with some measure of relief. Technological stress is not something to mess around with, as we already deal with a lot of other stress factors as adults, and these tips should help you address some of them.”
TUFFY the Rhino is more than just the Armstrong Tire mascot. On the surface, TUFFY appears to be a tough, hardened character, and arguably there is “none tougher.” In fact, he’s really a softie at heart, charming folks wherever he goes – a gentleman, for sure, but one who would equally be at home blazing frontiers as he would be dancing the waltz at a grand soirée. Often referred to as “The most interesting rhino in the world,” TUFFY has traveled the world and made many appearances representing Armstrong Tire, from advertisements co-starring stars like Lucille Ball to being featured on many eBay listings. However, he remains a simple, Midwestern rhino at heart, one that’s rooted in empathy, humility, and family values.