Inbox -1

I’ve read about how keeping your inbox at 0 is a major life accomplishment and that many people have a daily struggle with it. Having had my email well in hand for more than 10 years, I’ll share with you my secrets for how to keep things in balance and never have more than 10 messages in your inbox per day (if that’s what you want).

Step 1: Service Provider.
If you’re getting your email through your website, unfiltered, and then loading it into outlook or something similar, you can cut down on massive amounts of spam by switching to something like gmail. Their service does a great job of screening messages, I get perhaps 3 spam messages a month that make it through the filters. If you can’t get gmail, look into spam software for your email client.

Step 2: To-Do Lists
A lot of people use their inbox as a to-do list. I far prefer using my calendar app and Google Keep for this. If it’s timely, it goes in the calendar. If it’s to be remembered, it’s in keep. If, for some amazing reason I have to email someone back, I do it then. Mails take less than 5 minutes and then you’ve saved yourself time later. Be a friend to future you, do things now.

Step 3: Unsubscribe Everything
This is by far the most useful tip ever. By law, mailing lists are required to provide a working unsubscribe link. A lot of companies out there will honor this request and just take you off their lists. This alone prevents thousands of messages a day in my inbox. If you have time to delete the message, you have time to unsubscribe, too.

Bonus Points: Filters
Gmail allows the creation of filters — processes that run in certain circumstances. If you don’t want to unsubscribe from a list but don’t always want to read the messages, you can save them for later and look for them when you want using filters. Tired of getting all of those fwd:s from grandma? filter everything with a fwd into a fwds folder and ignore them until the holidays.

What’s fun is the combination of these three things make your inbox almost bulletproof. You can happily share your email address with people, post it to CraigsList, etc. with little to no fear of long-term problems.

Polyphasic Week 1

It’s been seven days since I decided to kick off what is probably the tenth time I’ve tried polyphasic. It’s been about two years since my last real attempt at adaptation, and the amount of time between attempts shows. My naps have been a little less effective, and I’ve found a few different quirks than I remember when it comes to napping. On the bright side, I’ve got a wife who’s excited to keep me on track as well as a job where I feel comfortable taking naps during the day.

I’m in a different mental place than usual when adapting. I’ve always approached polyphasic with a hardcore attitude, focusing on a perfect first three days and then trying to keep everything calm for the next two to three weeks. This time, I’ve been very lax with my structure, skipping naps, taking a core nap some nights, and in general trying to enjoy the experience of adaptation. I’ve never really minded being tired, but knowing that I have an option to work on it while still moving forward (I hope) in adaptation is refreshing. It feels like I can’t possibly fail, since there’s no real way to do so.

I’ve been tracking my feelings about each nap in a Google spreadsheet that I’ve kept pinned. It’s more accessible than a blog post, since I don’t feel like I need to be witty or even grammatically correct when I make my updates. I don’t know how useful it is in terms of data gathering, but the consistency is easier, and nice. I’d still like to get hold of a brain wave analyzer or at least one of the sleep trackers that’s out there to do better data gathering/analysis.

I’ve always been a good napper, but before when I’d try adaptation for about one month every year, I could fall back into a routine without too much trouble. Three days after starting, I’d feel like I was well on my way to true polyphasic bliss. This time, I’m distracted by noises more easily, and I feel like I’ve lost some of my confidence when it comes to falling asleep quickly. I’ve gotten some of it back over the week, reminding myself that even missing a nap here and there during adaptation isn’t a big deal, but the stress of lying down, feeling so tired, and not being able to sleep is frustrating. It gets easier. I need to remember.

All in all, I’ve slept about 30 hours in the last week instead of the usual 56 hours. What have I been doing with my time? Playing a lot of Hearthstone in preparation for our 24-hour gaming marathon this Saturday, watching some True Detective, working on Gallerus, and building/painting things in the wood shop. I guess I’m enjoying hobbies a little more now that I have some time to do them. Do you think my neighbors would mind me using the weed eater at three AM?