Even though it's a little early to be thinking about New Year's resolutions, I've decided to make an early one for 2005. I've decided to stop letting my inbox rule my day.Over the past week, I've paid particular attention to the amount of time I spend checking, writing and responding to e-mails, and the results were frightening.

Despite the fact that that I am not one who check e-mails in the middle of the night or on weekends (99 percent of my e-mailing activity is relegated to office hours), I find myself, more and more often, staying an extra 20 or 30 minutes at the end of the day just to try to delete some of the messages that have clogged my inbox during the previous eight or so hours. It is a constant struggle to keep the number of messages in my inbox below 150 (as I write this, I am at 156, 18 unread, and that is only after a concerted effort to purge). I realize that, to some of you, that is a pittance. To someone who feels that crossing things off a to-do list and throwing things away are cathartic experiences, however, it borders on a nightmare.

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