I’m a strong advocate of inbox zero. Inbox zero is an approach for keeping your inbox empty all the time. It helps me stay on top of things. For each email I read, I decide consciously between respond, delete, delegate, defer or do. And I ry to read each mail just once. If I deal with an email more than once it would be both a waste of time and energy.
If I’m stressed both in a positive or negative way, I wouldn’t realize it immediately. Often it was my girlfriend, family or peers who notice a change of behavior and made me aware of it.
Over time, I realized a astonishing reliable “metric” for my personal stress level: the count of unread emails. It seems to be natural for me that if I’m very engaged with something or stressed by work, even if I would have enough time in between to deal with email, I wouldn’t have enough mental resources left to do so.
Now every time I notice that I don’t reach inbox zero for a couple of days or hours, I know it is time to cool down and cut me some slack. For me this is a strong feedback mechanism.