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Email Psych 101: What does your inbox say about you?

November 3, 2009

I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to personality tests. I’ve done the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, some sort of colour test, and a whole variety of others.

I’ve done so many tests, in fact, I’d be darned if I were able to remember any of the results. I think I’m an intuitive blue-green shark or something. You may know better than me.

I’m so weary of confusing and accurate personality tests, I’ve been testing out my own system which does not require any lengthy questionnaires (do you disagree, agree, or are you neutral?). Gone are the zany typologies and acronyms (for instance, you will never find yourself uttering the words: “I’m a purple ostrich too!”).

In my experience, you need only look at your inbox. There are a variety of email personalities:

Picture 2The Clutterbox: Your inbox is stuffed full of messages (1000+). You read only the important messages, leave the rest unread. You don’t care. You may not know how to customize your wallpaper theme (but why bother?).

  • Strengths: You’re good at tuning out the background noise and prioritizing. You accomplish many of your goals, and cut your losses when others don’t pan out.
  • Weaknesses: You struggle at keeping things in proportion. Also, your old friends and co-workers have long given up on trying to get a hold of you. You’re something of a dabbler (and not a renaissance man/woman like you sometimes tell yourself).

Picture 1The Goalsetter: You keep your inbox filled to a targeted, typically round number. You face the facts: you’re not going to read all those emails, but you’re not giving up on important relationships. 100 unread emails? Manageable, at least until things slow down. Problem is, they never do and your inbox tends to slowly creep up. You may have customized your inbox theme, preferably with a galactic or pebbly theme.

  • Strengths: You have a pretty good social awareness and a positive outlook on life. You value relationships and are usually excellent at keeping up with people.
  • Weaknesses: You can be a bit of a people-pleaser and you occasionally get overwhelmed.

Picture 1The Checklister: Keeps inbox tidy with ZERO unread messages whenever possible, let alone any unsightly junk mail. The sight of an untended email account causes you to shudder. You may use a tidy-looking alternative theme (checks, patterns) to differentiate yourself from the unwashed masses, but not something too flashy (unicorns, really?).

  • Strengths: You are punctual, generally very courteous (except when someone forwards you messages you are obliged to check as read), and deferential to a fault.
  • Weaknesses: Despite your best efforts, life tends to be difficult to control. You tend to avoid conflict, often at your own detriment. You may have some anger issues.

The Forwarder: You love getting messages with jokes, impassioned political pleas, or funny pictures/videos. You enthusiastically send emails to any or all like-minded individuals.

  • Strengths: You are giving and free with yourself. You love life, laughs, and thoughts.
  • Weaknesses: You may not realize your emails ANNOY your friends, unless your friends are like-minded (which they most probably are).

Well, that’s all I could come up with. Do you have any way of improving my test? Let me know.

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