An Inbox President

I’m three months behind on my reading. I catch up in random coffee shops and doctors offices along the path of my current road trip. This is why it took me until last week to realize that I stand to risk being like George Bush.

I know. A January issue of the New Yorker told me so. Maybe if I had been more up on my periodicals, I could have stopped this likening from happening. But it’s April, and more than three months ago the Shouts and Murmurs section uttered this one phrase: George Bush was an Inbox president. Oh god, I thought when I read this, what if I am, too?

It just sounds bad. Never mind that maybe responding to crises as they arise might be considered a good trait by some—a great trait for certain situations—but to be wholly governed by the ping of a new message? Each day for the past six I have hovered my cursor over my mail program and told myself I will not be an inbox president. I repeat the mantra with the click, have a post it note on the screen as another reminder.

But is it really that bad?

Systematic life plans seem lovely to those on the go. Whimsical career changes seem envious to those focused on staying. How do you run your day? How does the day demonstrate your life? It’s self-governance, likely. It’s not being an inbox president, but checking your inbox.