Emails require a daily process and a monthly purge if you want to keep your inbox at bay. The first thing you need to do is employ a process for dealing with your daily messages. Read How to Process E-Mail in Four Simple Steps first and then follow that with this article.
Schedule time once or twice a month (every month) to do the following tasks. Be sure to put it on your calendar as well. I know it’s digital, but it deserves just as much attention as the physical items taking up space in your life. Digital clutter is still clutter, so let’s purge!
1. Delete emails related to completed projects. While a project is in process, it makes sense to keep the drafts and other reference materials necessary for getting to the finish line. Once it’s been completed, go back and erase the messages that are not necessary for reference anymore and won’t be in the future.
2. Delete emails related to events that have passed. This task has the same concept as number five. Before an event, you’ll usually keep emails related to it for reference. Once it has happened, no need to keep them anymore. This applies to parties, travel, concerts, meetings, and weddings — anything that you have already attended.
3. Unsubscribe from junk subscriptions and then delete the emails. On a daily basis, you probably only have time to delete the junk emails, so take the time to unsubscribe from them during your monthly purge. This will lessen the amount of emails coming to your inbox dramatically.
4. Change the settings on the subscriptions you want to keep. Like to see what’s on sale at Macy’s every once in a while? No problem. Don’t unsubscribe completely from their email list. Just change your settings so that you receive emails less often. You can usually do this by hitting the “Unsubscribe” button on the bottom of their email, and then a list of frequency options or categories will come up.
Combine these tasks with the four simple steps to processing your daily email, and you’ll be a master at managing this constant incoming source of digital clutter. How fantastic!
Image Credit: iStockphoto.com
I love that I can download lots of apps for my iPhone. Even my husband has apps on my phone. My favorite gaming app is Angry Birds. Mmmm…or Words With Friends. Especially when I’m winning!
When I’m actually trying to be productive, I’d love to be winning at getting to inbox zero. And, now that there’s an app that makes it a game, I could get closer to it. With The E-Mail Game, checking e-mail might actually be fun. The quicker I do something with a message, the more points I’d get. It has GTD feel (do it now, do it later, or delete) but the real key is beating the clock.
Plus, it works with Gmail and it’s free (there is a fee for the Exchange version). Points = Squat …but who cares?? I’d kick my inbox in the arse! …or have fun trying…
Would you give it a go?
“Donald Rubin* is the CEO of a software firm and a venture capital professional and an e-mail hoarder—14,651 unread messages to be exact. 1,535 of which have been flagged as important. Rubin has tried to use technology to climb out of the rubble…and he still ends up with over 150 e-mails in [sic] inbox every single day.” *Not his real name
How to Clean Out Your Inbox Without Guilt | OpenForum.com | 4.29.11
Don’t you sometimes scratch your head when you see a newsletter pop up in your inbox – and it’s from the guy met at last week’s networking meeting? That means you didn’t sign up for it. That also means that it’s not only annoying, but it’s also clogging up your inbox. Now add those unwanted newsletters to the ones you did sign up for and no longer want. Keep adding…include the ones that you’ve already unsubscribed from and you still get. Painful.
This is when you call in the troops, otherwise known as Unsubscribe.com. They will remove you from all those mailing lists so that you don’t have to. Download the Gmail extension or Outlook app…or simply forward the offending e-mail to them. Try out the free version and get 5 unsubs/month or pay $19.99/year for unlimited unsubscribes.
There’s even an “unsubscribe” link their website so that you can remove yourself from their list. Very cool.