How to turn a stressful inbox into an inspiring one
I have become accustomed to spending a few minutes every day deleting unwanted emails. If I don’t do this, my inbox becomes unmanageable and I risk missing the important ones. Over the years I’ve been pretty ruthless but I would still expect to delete 40 or more everyday.
About a month ago I realised I was deleting an email from one company every day.
Enough. It was time to unsubscribe.
Once I had managed that I decided to see if I could further lighten the load. I decided to unsubscribe from everything.
Some were very easy and some were very tricky. Some of the worst were Facebook notifications. I have unsubscribed at least 10 times so far and they still keep coming. I was surprised by the e-mails I was reluctant to let go of, like notifications of sales from my favourite online shops. What if I missed something?
This one got me thinking. To what extent were my purchases being driven my a retailers need to sell rather than my desire to buy? I regularly peruse the sites of my favourite stores. If want something I can always go and look for it. How much low level anxiety was being created by an inbox filled with “Last Chance To Buy”, “Don’t Miss Out” and “Ending Soon” ?
When I was a child my mum would go to town to shop once a week. This was her weekly outing and she looked forward to it and to do this day, at 86 years old she still takes herself to town once a week. Now we can shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online. This is convenient but in effect, I am having to ignore an invitation to buy every time I open my inbox. It may only take a nanosecond but it was taking more energy than I realised.
Then there were the newsletters. I realise that some people will be reading this as part of our weekly newsletter so I might be shooting myself in the foot but here goes :)
First I saw that with so much in my inbox I never had time to read them. When it came to hitting the unsubscribe button I realised there were a small number I regularly opened and enjoyed. This showed me a new possibility for my inbox. What if I began to see it as something that inspired me and brought joy rather than a daily chore?
So this week how about reasserting the sovereignty of your inbox? The average person spends 13 hours a week organising their e-mail. Would you spend that much time on someone you didn’t like? No! So let's apply the same logic to our inbox.
This week you get to choose what you read. So how about choosing what delights you rather than depresses you?
📥Exercise Six: Inbox KonMari 📥
You may have already come across KonMari method from Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up". The KonMari Method is about literally putting your house in order. Transforming your home into a tidy, clutter-free space to transform your life. Judging by the success of the book and the testimonials, it works.
The process starts with discarding but rather than focusing on what to get rid of, you focus on what you want to keep by asking, “Does this spark joy?” We’re going to use the same method for your inbox.
📥How it works 📥
Open your inbox and unsubscribe from any email lists that don’t bring you joy.
Depending on how many you receive each day you may want to put a timer on for (five minutes) and see how many you can get through. When you open your inbox next spend the first five minutes unsubscribing. Eventually you will reduce the number coming in each day.
Rather than deciding whether to unsubscribe each time, assume you are going to unsubscribe from all of them and only keep those that bring you joy. An email has to earn it’s place 😊
Remember you can always re-subscribe if you really miss any of them!