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I talk a lot about decluttering, but there was one area of my life I had been putting off simplifying because it was such an outrageous, overstuffed mess – my email inbox.
Years of neglect had left my inbox with THOUSANDS of messages that needed to be sorted or deleted. I think clutter in any area of our lives adds chaos and stress, so I was determined to tackle this problem. I devoted one afternoon to cleaning out my inbox and I can’t tell you how amazing it was to FINALLY see “0 messages.” Depending on how bad your inbox is the task may be a little daunting, but here are a few tips to get you started.
Now, you can delete as many emails as you want, but if you don’t stem the influx of junk coming in, you will quickly get overwhelmed and behind again. Make a commitment that every time you get junk mail, whether it is from a store or even tips delivered to your inbox, that you will take the time to unsubscribe from that list. Some lists are easier to unsubscribe from than others. Some make you click through several steps to get your name off of the list, but in the end it’s well worth it, so take the time to unsubscribe as soon as the email hits your inbox.
There were a few lists that I hesitated to unsubscribe from, because they were tips or updates that I had initially signed up to have delivered to my inbox. I finally decided that clearing the clutter from my inbox was more important to me than the ease of having something delivered directly to me. If something adds enough value to my life that I need to look at it daily, then it’s important enough to make the commitment to actually go to the website to read it. There were several things that I signed up for that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in all honesty I haven’t looked at the daily or weekly and emails for months. I pulled off the band aid and unsubscribed.
Take An Afternoon
If you are like me and haven’t done a thorough cleaning of your inbox, maybe ever, dedicate and afternoon to the project. It seems overwhelming, and it WILL take some time, but it will be worth it in the end! So brew a cup of coffee, and commit the time to getting it cleared out once and for all.
Set Up Folders
There are some emails that you are going to want to save, so set up folders to store them in so they aren’t just sitting in your inbox. I have a folder for my blog, one for Young Living, one for pictures people email me that I want to save, etc. Occassionally you will want to peruse these folders and purge as well, but getting the email out of your inbox is half the battle.
Don’t Let It Get That Way Again
Unsubscribing from spam emails DRAMATICALLY decreased the amount of emails I have coming in, but there are still plenty of emails I need to deal with on a daily basis. I have stopped randomly checking my email every time I have an alert, and only sitting down when I have a few minutes to properly delete and delegate the emails.
At first I was letting an email or two sit in my inbox until I had time to deal with it. Then it was a couple more. I knew that I had to come up with a system or I would be right back where I started, so not checking it every 5 minutes has really worked for me. Not only does it eliminate emails just hanging out in my inbox, it is helping me to be less of a slave to my phone.
I can’t tell you what a breath of fresh air it is to see an empty inbox. I challenge you to take some time and get yours cleaned out this week!