Trying to do the right thing, I was. Yesterday, I had accumulated about 1200 emails in my Gmail Inbox, with about 1000 of them unread. Now I knew this amount of mail and unread messages in my inbox was wrong, I knew I was not keeping to the ideals of Merlin Mann‘s Inbox Zero techniques.
Inbox Zero being a discipline to process email as you go along and not keep tons of unread mail that will hold you a guilty hostage to not Getting Things Done.
Anyway, my heart was in the right place, I was about halfway through the message and then zap. My Gmail web interface goes away and I get this message:
It’s all telling me that they’re locking down my Gmail account for up to 24 hours because of “suspicious” activity. Now maybe they consider my cleaning up my inbox “suspicious activity”. They give this list of items that might have caused the lockdown, 4 out of 5 I know I haven’t done.
#5 says your browser can be doing it to you. Well that would be fine and dandy except I’m using Google’s own browser, Chrome.
They let me back into my email after about 6 hours and I get through another hundred or so. Today the quest starts again and just as I was down to about 100 messages, zap. I’m being unusual again.
I’m now waiting them out, again.
What have I learned?
The cursed lockdown only seems to affect the Gmail web interface. If you already have an email client configured for IMAP you can continue to use your account.
As much as I have bored everyone by tireless pushing Gmail as the only true path for email, Google’s lockdown ability proves that Gmail has a troubling hold over your email that always hangs over your head like a pile of excrement.
As far as Merlin Mann? I guess it wasn’t really his fault, except Inbox Zero does inject a level of guilt in your dealings with email that’s a pretty strong motivator for a Jewish-guy like me.