On Saturday I arrived back home after being gone and mostly disconnected for roughly two weeks. I was curious to see how much stuff piled up, waiting for my attention, while I was hanging out with great people, sleeping in a tent, teaching, learning, flying, and otherwise avoiding the Internet.

Lennies Indicate Wave in the Distance
Originally uploaded by jzawodn.

I fired up Thunderbird to find that there were approximately 2,100 messages waiting for me in my work account. 80% of them were spam and removed automatically. Another 10% were clearly not things I needed to read, so I filed them into the "archive" folder without opening them. Another 3-5% were spam that I had to manually mark as spam.

But that still left something like 125 messages in my inbox that demand some sort of attention from me: read, process, respond, put on calendar, etc.

I marked all but two folders in FeedDemon as "read" immediately. I strongly suspect that anything truly important that took place in my world during those two weeks will make itself apparent in other ways. If not, it probably wasn't important. I should probably cut my feed subscriptions in half. Again.

I tried to keep up with my personal email every few evenings while I was out, but there are probably still 40 or so messages with stars next to them in my Gmail account.

Hans and Stan Contemplate Repairs
Originally uploaded by jzawodn.

In other words, my "welcome back" workload is now back to a semi-reasonable level.

It was quite refreshing to not spend 8-12 hours a day in front of a computer, sending email to people who work a minute's walk from me, dealing with weekly meetings in which little is actually accomplished, getting caught up in the "news" of the day, and keeping half a dozen plates spinning.

Something about all that needs to change. I'm not quite sure what, but I've got a few ideas worth thinking about more.

I should have done this a year ago, but I'm also glad to be back at home. And my cats are glad to have me here too.

Did I miss anything important? Probably not. But let me know if I did.

Posted by jzawodn at May 29, 2006 07:31 AM

Reader Comments
# Jason Schramm said:

Nothing much important happened, though Yahoo and eBay announced a plan whereby Yahoo sells ads on eBay and monetizes Skype. But you could have already known that.

And Google has hired Douglas Bowman to be their Visual Design Lead. He’s charged “with helping the company establish a common visual language across all their collaborative and communication products.”

And Eric Schmidt told investors that Dell will be switching its machines over to Google, but this had been mentioned a while ago. It's just now even more finalized that before.

on May 29, 2006 08:17 AM
# Jason Schramm said:

And Google released Picasa for Linux. They submitted a lot of patches to Wine so that it could be run under it, and in the process they apparently fixed some longstanding bugs in Wine.

on May 29, 2006 08:19 AM
# Vijaychandran said:

Welcome back Jeremy, Needless to mention I missed ur opinion on many happening here. Waiting for ur more unbiased inspiring thought on the Ebay Yahoo alliance and dell Google trying to Monopoly the search .. Google filing againts Microsoft for setting the defaiult search and MSN and diifficulty in changing the default search engines.

Wish you easy settling with work load

on May 29, 2006 08:50 AM
# pmp said:

Merlin Mann from 43folders.com gave a talk on Friday titled "Life Hacks for Knowledge Workers". An excellent presentation though it was lacking on specific techniques. It basically was reiterating the point you make about information overload, spending too much time "doing email", being tethered to our latest wizz-bang gadgets, etc.

It should be up on the archives soon. I would highly recommend giving it a viewing.

My favorite thing he showed was his "PDA". He pulled out a small stack of 3x5 index cards with a clip and plopped it down on the table. I love it. I find that writing things on paper (rather than in some electronic form) helps me organize thoughts, visualize my list of things to do and sort my priorities.

on May 29, 2006 10:04 AM
# Max said:

Hey, I'm glad you're back, awaiting new posts. Interessting articles and easy to read (I'm from Germany).

Oh, and some news: Office 2007 Beta can be downloaded now.

on May 29, 2006 10:09 AM
# AlmostJaded said:

While you were out I believe I pinpointed the source of the problem and solution you asked about in June 2005, regarding recruiting. I didn't want to "spam" your account and I had too much fear and sensibility to e-mail to a Yahoo address. I do however have the courage and bravery, and perhaps stupidity, to call an industry leader (not Yahoo, but Yahoo is guilty as well) out onto the carpet with the possibility to affect change. I've got the data. I am willing to share "some" of it with discretion.

This Bud's for you. Just write. I appreciate the occasional voice of sanity. ;) Ok. Here goes. Send.

on May 29, 2006 12:02 PM
# Tim said:

Apparently, some of your Y! friends down the hall might think you were wasting your time. Coincidence on the timing?

Today's Yahoo Buzz: http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/13148/camping-whats-the-point

on May 29, 2006 04:01 PM
# Jan Ives said:

Welcome back :-)

I hope you had a suitably fabulous time :-)

We missed you :-)

on May 29, 2006 04:02 PM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

>>anything truly important that took place in my world during those two weeks will make itself apparent in other ways<<

Great notion Jeremy. Welcome back. The seven-hundred- seventy-six.7 significant internet developments you missed will make themselves apparent to you soon.

on May 29, 2006 10:34 PM
# anonymous coward said:

you know most folks at yahoo have work mail redirected to some other co-workers inbox to deal with work you're normally responsible for dealing with. it's so much easier to know theres no backlog of work to be taken care of when you get back from vacation. it kind of spoils the vacation too if you think theres going to be a backlog waiting for you. its always in the back of your mind that your vacation might be more hassle on a work level than intially expected when you were booking up your vacation agenda. those out of office auto responders can be annoying for folks though who really want to get in contact with you. its great that now with mobile technology we can review our inbox from anywhere in the world, the pleasures of a blackberry(!). for me the paranoia of backlog building up on my inbox after just a few days sometimes leaves me waking up with sweaty palms at 3am in the morning, in my hotel suite. i don't think i could go cold turkey for two weeks without checking what mail is awaiting my professional advice. although i've done it in the past and went for years prior to e-technology without e-mail. in today's world however, it is hard for me to resist downloading the latest e-mail offerings my work list(s) have sent or what the latest gossip is amoung friends and family. i guess you could call it vacational inbox syndrome/phobia? or something like that.

on May 30, 2006 02:34 AM
# louis vuitton said:

Very beautiful and interesting blog! I enjoy reading you blog... keep it up guys!
Respect you!

on May 30, 2006 08:07 AM
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