Keeping a peaceful life is easier when living in a decluttered environment, and that includes our email inboxes. When we think of decluttering, our minds picture the overstuffed closets and drawers, not always digital clutter. But it’s there, clogging up our view and wasting our time.
Just like the rooms in your house, you can declutter your inbox by throwing everything out, doing a little at a time, or putting it all in storage and only taking out the things that you use. But emails arrive in our inboxes freakishly faster than we can buy stuff to fill our houses.
One thing that continuously fills the inbox is email subscriptions. They never stop, and seem to reproduce of their own accord. Subscriptions are great because we get regular information on things that interest us. There’s a lot of great, free knowledge out there. A good deal of it is sandwiched between ads and salescopy. But if you can only read the nugget of pure information and not get sidetracked into unwanted spending, the subscription is useful. But without proper management and read-and-delete action, these emails swamp even the most minimalist inbox.
Once you’re on a list, the list owner will not remove your email unless you specifically request it. They can share your email address with other lists too. So the question becomes how to maintain the inflow of information. Here are my top process ideas for a happy subscription/inbox relationship.
- Go ahead and sign up for any list that interests you. Easy joy.
- Ruthlessly unsubscribe from any that you know you don’t read every time you get a new one. Some will be easy (lists you don’t remember joining). Don’t worry, you can re-subscribe at any time (step 1). Either keep a list of the website/store or let it go. There’s a whole internet out there.
- Ruthlessly delete emails that have been sitting there, unread. You can always re-subscribe and get new (and probably back-dated) information.
- Delete emails you’ve read. If there’s something you want to share or save, do it immediately after reading. You don’t need to keep every email you were sent, especially if it’s stuffed with sales fluff.
- Create filters. It’s not as technical as it sounds and most email providers have simplified this. The result of filters is when an email hits your inbox it goes directly into its folder, waiting to be read. I have filters for health, finance and childcare newsletters, among others. When I have time to read, I go into one and read all relevant information at one time.