Does your inbox stress you out?

Cat-Doing-EmailAre you one of those people who has hundreds (or even thousands) of unopened emails in your inbox? It’s like an epidemic. I can’t even imagine it – I’ve got 20 right now and that stresses me out.

But if you are one of those people. here are a few tips (that don’t require getting the cat involved):

  1. When you open up your email, do a quick scan of your inbox and delete the junk. Then prioritize what’s left. Some of it will be receipts and such that you can just file. After that, you’ll have a much smaller, clear list of actionable messages to work with.
  2. Unsubscribe to newsletters that you no longer read. Be ruthless.
  3. If a message is spam, mark it as such – but only if it truly is spam. If it’s something you subscribed to but no longer want, it’s not spam. Just unsubscribe.
  4. Consider using a service called Sanebox. It takes a little getting used to, but it allows me to specify which types of messages get sent to my inbox, which ones get sent to a “read later” folder, and which ones go to the black hole, never to be seen again. It’s like Gmail filters but better. There are lots more features too, depending on how you need.

One more thing – inbox zero is overrated. You work so hard at it, then when you do achieve that goal, it won’t last long.

Give yourself permission to use your inbox in whatever way works for you. If you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” person and you like to leave messages there to come back to, so be it. If it’s working for you, there’s absolutely no reason to change to someone else’s system.

Got any tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!

  • This is still a work in progress for me, Lisa Wood — When I sign up for a mailing list it’s because I actually AM interested….. I usually wait a few months, and then on a Saturday do a search and read through a few from the same mailing list. If it’s something it wouldn’t bother me to miss out on then I unsubscribe and Delete All….. Oh, but the AGONY of all those that I really WOULD read if only I had the time!!!!

    • agreed! That’s why sanebox is so helpful. All those things get filtered out so they don’t distract me. I’ve had to just let go of wanting to read everything. It’s hard, I know! 🙂

  • I find that #1 helps me to wade through my email with less overwhelm. One thing I do that isn’t mentioned is to view my email through the eyes of social media sharing. While my email box is loading, I open my social media accounts and my buffer app (which allows me to schedule sharing). Then, as I read through my email, I will post items to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Google +. While I do devote 60-90 minutes to managing email, I’m using the same time to engage my social media accounts. This approach allows me to get double the amount of work done and keep my inbox clear.

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