Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Creativity Tips: Enjoy Stupid

Before we begin, let me explain that I treat my Outlook email inbox like a Something, Someday to File Box. And, as we all know, someday never comes ...

I hardly ever use my Surface tablet, but this past week I turned it on and punched the little envelope button to check my email. Bad move. Bad, bad move. The Surface downloaded all the emails that I had on my server. One thousand or so. (Go ahead. Judge me. I understand. But I was going to file those emails. Seriously. Someday.)

Anyhow, after the Surface downloaded all the emails, I thought I'd be smart and erase them all, so the tablet's memory wasn't bogged down. After all, I had the emails on the server. 

You see where this is going. Yep. Outlook was carefully programmed to delete all the emails everywhere when I deleted them on the Surface. No problem, you say? Just go into the Trash folder and rescue them? 

Well, hell's bells. Great idea! Except for one teeny, tiny fact. I was being SO SMART that I promptly deleted all the emails from the Trash folder. 

By the time I realized what I'd done, well ... all those work emails and the recipes I forwarded from various sites and the photos I sent from my phone and all of it ... all of it ... was gone. Including the email that my friend Michelle sent me years ago -- years ago! -- with a subject line that said: Jan Sokoloff Harness Rocks! She is the Ultimate Writer!

I used to look at that subject line when I was having a bad day. And, speaking of bad days, I started the work week with an email to clients, confessing that I'm a moron and throwing myself on their mercy re: missing emails. 

Now, on the Surface of things, this would appear to be a technology disaster. But here's the thing: It's not. It's the most wonderful technology oops I've ever made, and I've made a lot. My Outlook inbox is clean. It's clean! I have seven emails, and I will delete them as soon as possible. All the others that came in since the Big Erase have been filed or deleted. 

That's right. I am free. I am free-ee-ee. I feel lighter just knowing all those emails are gone, gone, gone. 

So, what have we learned from this? Simple! We have a new codicil to the classic You can't fix stupid
Enjoy Stupid. 

You make a stupid mistake? Terrific! Slap your head, groan and then consider if there are any benefits. I can now look at all my emails on one screen and I know exactly what I'm doing with them.

But what if you lost something really important? you ask.  If I did, it will come back in one form or another. Like love. Or, email Zen, as my friend Cheri says. 

Now, if I could only find a way to accidentally delete all the stuff in the basement that I've been meaning to go through. That would really improve my Outlook. 

P.S. If you sent me an email and I haven't responded, I'm sorry, it's gone, please try again!  

Sidenote for those of you just joining the fun: Post 60 is a digression on the Creative Instigation blog, part of my 60th year celebration. Although I've filed this under Creativity Tips, I think it also qualifies as a Post 60, making it post 13 of the 60. Party on!


Roy said...

Imagine what the rules of Feng Shui would have had to say about that, were there email in China way back then--the oppressive load on your psyche caused by 1000 emails.

Jan said...

I know! And the lighter load has changed how I'm looking at all the papers on my desk. Really pretty amazing what one big "delete" can do!