Tips for Decluttering Your Email Inbox!
Clutter is not just the paperwork that comes into your home, but also the emails that come into your inbox. This post will show you how to create folders, unsubscribe from lists, and use a “deal with it once and move on” approach to email. The goal here is an empty inbox at the end of every day! You can do this! Here are our tips for decluttering your email box.
Think of this as “National Unsubscribe Month.” (Yes, I am totally making that up!) Every single time you check your email, before you delete a store sales notice, a “New Moms” newsletter, or a Facebook status update, ask yourself if you really need to be receiving this information in email form. Chances are, if you are quickly deleting it, you don't. Just because you once signed up for a mailing list in order to receive a coupon doesn't mean the you need to stay in a committed relationship with that company! And certainly for me, the less sales notices I receive, the less tempted I am to click through and check out what's on sale and spend money that I don't need to be spending!
Every email newsletter should have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Yes, sometimes it can be hard to find, but it should be there. Click on it and unsubscribe! Whew! You are shedding clutter! For emails generated as notifications (such as from Facebook, Yahoo groups, etc), you will likely need to log into your account and change your account preferences to stop receiving those emails.
Now of course, there is one exception to this. You don't want to delete your email subscription to EverydayFamily! That's email that you need! 🙂
How often do you read a new email and then just allow it to sit there in your inbox? Probably ALL THE TIME, right? So we are going to create a new habit today: read the email and then decide what the next action is …
- Delete it (if it's junk or you don't need it anymore).
- Take Action! Need to RSVP, add an item to your calendar, answer a question? Do it NOW and then …
- File It!
Set up a system of email folders so that when you read an email, you can immediately file it into the proper folder for reference later if needed. The goal here is to keep your main inbox empty of all emails except ones that you have not yet read or that you need to reply to today.
Side note: I know that some folks like to have certain emails directed immediately to a specific folder upon receipt (such as emails from the soccer coach funneling right into the “Soccer” folder) and never have it pass through their main inbox. Personally, I am not a fan of that practice. I like to see everything once, read (or scan) it, and then either delete it, take action, or file it. I don't want to have to check several folders for unread messages each day. I worry that something important will slip by me.
I try to empty my email inbox the first thing each morning and then again at the at end of the day. I start at the top and either respond, delete, or file each and every email until my inbox is empty. If an email creates a longer-term task for me, I'll add the task to my weekly to-do list and then file the email in the proper folder until I am ready to tackle that task. I don't need that email staring at me from the inbox all week because I will be tempted to open it and spend time working on that issue when I have other priorities to meet!
Have you slayed the email inbox giant? Let's hear about it!