Taking back my email inbox

About a year ago, I did the whole email bankruptcy thing, clearing my inbox completely.

Nothing really changed, though. A few months later, I was back to 1,500+ emails in my inbox, not including the promotions or social tabs in Gmail.

I did it again this past week. I just outright deleted all the promotions and social emails. I wasn’t going to wade through all that. And then I went through my main inbox, scanning fairly quickly through all of them, and deleting all but about 20 emails.

Of the 20 remaining emails, I archived about a dozen of them. I didn’t need to take any current action on them, but I will need the information later (tickets to a conference later in the year, etc.).

That left about eight emails to deal with.

As new emails are coming in now, I’m doing something different.

  • First, I’m not checking email all the time. I’m only checking it when I have the time to do something with the emails. It still shows up on my phone for now – I might ditch that soon.
  • Second, I’m unsubscribing to any emails I get that I either don’t read or don’t need to read. Over the years, I’ve managed to get on a whole bunch of email lists. Most of them are good, but I just can’t keep up with all of them. I’m unsubscribing from almost all of them. I figure if I unsubscribe and then miss them, I can resubscribe. But I doubt I’ll miss them.
  • Third, I’m deleting emails immediately. I either read then delete; unsubscribe then delete; read, respond, then delete; or read, do whatever I need to do with it, respond, then delete. But I’m not going on to the next email without that delete.

And if I don’t have time to do that, I’m not checking email.

The less I have to pay attention to, the more I can pay attention to what’s important.