Since I’m not the only one who hopes to get control over my email I thought I would share the journey with you.
How I got here
I hadn’t had my souped up Apple II+ long when I discovered I could add a modem and begin to communicate with others. I think my first email program was what’s now known as Microsoft Outlook.
I guess you could call me a pack rat when it comes to email. Over time I’ve simply saved too much of it. I suspect I could find floppy disks of backed up email – and no, I don’t want to read them.
Politics and good ideas are my problem. I’ve saved way to many of those emails, vaguely thinking I’d get to them someday.
So much of the fat in my inbox is subscriptions to either political issues which mostly turn into pleas for funds, and newsletters that I think may be helpful ‘someday.’
Neither approach does anything but contribute to in box bloat.
Progress toward zero emails
This morning I woke up to a mail box with only 465 emails! That’s down from consistently running 2,000 to 3,000 emails listed everyday. Enough to discourage anyone.
There seem to be three secrets I’m using.
Maybe not so by the way, although I use Outlook, most email systems allow the same sort of organization.
Make use of folders
The first is making use of the folder system Outlook has. If I were starting over I’d probably divide my email into three general categories: Writing, Life Coaching, Life
Since I’m starting now I’ve got way too many categories, and I’m adding more. The goal is to get email out of my in box and this works. I have, for example, under Life Coaching clients, the email from each client and prospective client. I use the same approach to writing clients.
Unsubscribe like mad
I’ve been unsubscribing from I don’t know how many email subscriptions. My criteria has become roughly, have I even opened this subscription in the last month? If not, I dump it. For the few that I genuinely want to keep, I create a folder under ideas for the moment. My plan is to go through this folder down the road an purge it. I’ll probably do that when I also begin to look through the folders to see which ones I want to keep, but I’m not there yet.
Persistence in the plan to zero emails
The real reason I’ve been able to reduce my inbox so much is because I’ve kept at this ‘program’ on an almost daily basis for several weeks now. That’s the third secret, and maybe the most important.
It is getting easier, particularly since we’re in a new year. I swear I ended up on a dozen or more email lists pleading for money or offering the perfect Christmas present just because my email addresses are out there.
What I’m finding is a sense of less burden as the number of emails continues to drop. I hadn’t realized how much energy it takes to ignore 3000 emails, or to paw through them hoping to find one particular communication, or to get a reminder from someone whose initial email I never found.
How close to zero emails are you?
Write well and often,