I have very meticulously, and for the first time in my 8 years of work life, made folders in my mailbox. They look nice, alphabetically arranged, tiny yellow rectangles. I did this on Friday afternoon, when I had a good hour of nothing to do, because we are back to the ‘My work depends on your work so do your work and give it to me no don’t stick to your end of day deadline because then that means I have to sit beyond mine’ days. Anyway, not only did I do that, but I also created rules, which auto forward mails from specific senders into the respective folders. Neat stuff. And I don’t care if these features have been there forever. What matters is I know them now, and they are super cool.
Back to the folders, I have typical ones, one for the team, one for the clients, one for the bosses, one for Org announcements, and one personal. Now this is a very useful feature especially in my context because I am known for my panic attacks. Especially Monday mornings, when I have been away from all things work for a whole 2 days. So when I login, the first thing I check is just how many mails have I received while I was away. Now Outlook is not that fast also, so I keep staring at that ‘updating folder’ status bar thing at the bottom, until it says ‘All folders are up to date’, and then I look up. And usually, that’s the cue for a panic attack.
Any big number of mails, the definition of which changed from job to job, role to role, situation to situation, and I am like ‘Oh God how do I read it all at once and respond before they come back saying I am slow doesn’t matter they are in the US and fast asleep‘. Only to realise as I scroll through that 80% of it is chain mails between my group of friends from college/blogs/old job/old team etc. You get the draft. And then I am like ‘Phew Ctrl+Alt+Del’, let me get a coffee.’ No, green tea.
So yes, back to the usefulness of these folders. Now that my personal mails are nicely forwarded to my personal folder, as are the rest, I can panic in moderation. I mean, have an updated set of upper limits for each folder, and then decide whether or not it deserves panic. While I do feel it kills the presence of hope (where you see a 100 mails but there is still hope most are not work related), here you know exactly what they would be. But while I keep trying to defend myself against the common perception of my pessimism and cynicism, in this case, I am better off with the hard facts served to me in a platter, rather than having to pick my way through all the condiments before arriving at the concealed reality, which will be there anyway.
Also, as a firm believer in signs, one mail in my personal folder, would pretty much balance out 5 mails in the Client folder. Now this is just psychological, for all you know, eventually the personal mail could be from my some of my friends dis-owning me, and those from the clients could be mails sharing their baby’s pictures, but I am talking mainly of the first impact. So I kinda judge my day based on how active which part of my inbox is.
So, today morning, I was as always greeted with a truckload of mails when I logged in. A lot of them from the Onshore team, and some from the in-house team, and some even from the big bosses. I had a medium criticality panic attack, before I quickly got down to business, met with the team, we discussed what to say to who, and how. Then I attacked the mails I was expected to respond to, and took my time handling those, by which I mean framed the mail, read it, re-read it, re-framed the mail, and finally saved it in drafts because this would be the response to the response I could get to the mail I just sent. Once done, I got myself a mug of green tea, mailed a couple of my friend groups and felt better.
The day’s been busy since, interviews, meetings, calls. But the personal folder remains highly inactive, not lighting up like it’s counterparts. When I got my second mug of green tea, and settled down, I finally see the Personal folder highlighted and a little (1) next to it. It brought an instant smile, making me wonder what a little thing like that could do to your mood.
The smile became a grin, when I saw who it was from. The Dude. Now he is not much of a mailer. In fact, he is quite a lazy responder too. He hardly calls at work, and when I do, it is usually answered with a hushed ‘I’m on a call will call you back. Click’. In short, we are devoid of any communication at the work place, but I have grown used to it in the 7 years we have been together. But today, the day I was a little blue, one because it’s a Monday and only aliens (and people who have Monday-Tuesday as their weekly offs) can feel bright and happy on this day, and two, because work was really pulling me down, here was a mail, from him, in my personal folder, without me having to say anything to him. And just like that, my Monday got as happy as any Monday can possibly be.
What did it say?
Make Vodafone payment
I know, how romantic, but I choose to look at the brighter side of things. It could be worse, you know, like what if one day God mails me, and I open it all thrilled, and it says ‘ Due to a technical error, this week, we will have two Mondays instead of one’. Just imagine.
And people don’t believe it when I say I am an optimist.