Email is an amazing tool, and for someone like me — who hates the phone and uses it only when absolutely necessary — it is a lifeline to the outside world.
But here’s the thing. Email can also be a huge time suck.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the time you spend processing emails and the stress you feel when you look at your inbox.
The number one way? Just unsubscribe.
Like my decluttering your feed reader post, this one is a bit scary to write as a blogger. There are several thousand of you reading this right now…in your email.
But here’s the thing, if you’re actually reading this email, you probably don’t need to unsubscribe from the daily newsletter (but I’d still understand if you did).
There are emails you should unsubscribe from right away, though:
- The newsletters you delete without ever opening them. I know you think you’ll read them at some point in the future when you have more time, but realistically, you probably won’t.
- Notifications that you get that you don’t need. I used to get one from Paypal every time we used our debit card, but I recently took the time to figure out how to turn those off because I don’t need to see them since I check my account regularly and I’m the only one with a card on the account.
- Sale alerts from retailers. Not only will you save time by not getting them, but you’ll also save money!
- Social media alerts. There are some notifications I like, like the ones Facebook sends when someone responds to something I’ve said. But there are plenty that I’d rather not get — new Twitter followers, game invites, etc.
- Service updates. Many times when you subscribe to a service, install a new program or sign up for an online group, you’re automatically added to their emails lists for all kinds of service updates. From a marketing perspective, I understand that these emails are an important way for companies to stay in touch with consumers. From a consumer perspective, though, I just don’t want extra notifications clogging up my inbox, so I opt-out or unsubscribe every time.
- Forwards and group emails. If you’re brave enough — because it does take same courage — respond to forwards and other group emails and ask the sender to remove you from their email list. If you use your email for business, that makes a perfect excuse; otherwise you may just need to explain that you’re trying to cut back on the number of emails you get.
There’s this feeling we sometimes get, like we might miss something important if we unsubscribe from email lists. But making any decision out of fear — even one as benign as whether to stay subscribed to an email list — is a good way to feel trapped. Even though an email may take only a few seconds to scan and delete, when you get dozens of those emails, the time really starts to add up.
So next time you get an email that you’re tempted to just delete, take an extra second or two to unsubscribe instead. In a few weeks, you’ll find that your email load has lessened considerably, and while it’s won’t bring world peace, it will bring a little bit of inbox peace!
Could you cut your email load by unsubscribing from newsletters, notifications and other alerts?