Email: fail (a confession and manifesto)

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I‘ll just say it: my email inbox is out of control. As someone who feels rather “with it” in several arenas of life, I’ll publicly admit that my inbox is not one of those places. Above is a screenshot of just a portion of my inbox — obviously I’m behind.

A few months ago, I managed to fully process my inbox. I went to bed with zero email.

The next morning, a few hours later, I had 38.

I’ve written posts about how to successfully handle email, but that was before my inbox became something of an untamable beast. I’ve read plenty other posts about how to best handle email — classic productivity gurus have espoused their solution with confidence.

Short of declaring total email bankruptcy (which believe me, is tempting), I’ve decided to make peace with my inbox in my own way. Because otherwise, it’ll do me in, mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Here’s how.

1. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.

I’ve unsubscribed to just about every mailing list or newsletter out there. I don’t read them anyway, so why bother? They’re not useful to me, and I’m obviously not the target market for those sending them out. I’m wasting their time.

I also think loooooong and hard before signing up on any email lists. Very few are worth it to me — seeing them sit there cause me stress, and they dilute the visibility of the truly valuable emails.

2. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

A few months ago I asked my virtual assistant, Jenny, to handle some of my email (among other tasks). Kyle also receives the email from PR reps, answers the ones he knows how to answer, and forwards me any email from the contact form that I would want to see (like messages from you readers, asking me a question or saying something nice). He saves me the trouble of reading spam, impersonal pitches, or not-so-nice emails from other sorts of people. He’s a great guy.

But it’s not enough — somehow, I still have too much daily email. So when Jenny returns from her maternity leave, I hope to delegate even more email to her. (Hi Jenny! Reading this? I like you.)

3. Attack my inbox like a sniper, not like the mob.

You know those campy mobster movies, where the guys in suits holding tommy guns pull out their weapon and start firing at random, leaving holes in the walls and busting windshields?

That’s how I’ve been handling email: leaving my weapon out for easy access (my inbox), and randomly attacking messages in hopes that I hit a target called “progress.” It’s not working.

I now plan to be a sniper. My literary agent, Jenni (the other Jenny/i in my life), recently let her authors know that she’ll only be processing email twice per day. Leaving her email up all day, she wasn’t getting any quality work done. I wanted to rise up and call her blessed.

Following the advice recently shared on Michael Hyatt’s blog, I’m also returning to my roots of closing my email all but twice per day. I’ll check it once in the morning, and again in the late afternoon. I’ll close out everything else, and only process email for 30 minutes at each sitting.

Those who know me well know how to find me if it’s urgent. I’ve yet to encounter a true email emergency where I’m glad I had my inbox open all day.

4. Don’t touch it until I can take action.

I’ll skim my unread messages and quickly find the most important — they’re from my family, my friends, or a work contact. I’ll read them. But if they need more than a one sentence response, you know what I’ll do?

I’ll mark them as unread. As though somehow, I’m tricking myself into thinking I don’t have to respond because I haven’t yet opened it.

Just plain silly. I’m going back to my roots of only opening email if I can truly take action right then. If I don’t have time, it can wait until my next email session.

5. Redefine “action.”

Honestly, there’s plenty of email that I can just read and either archive or delete. The ones that need a response usually only need a quick one. The writer in me wants to equal my response’s length to the original email’s. But when I wait to make the time to write that lengthy, well-written email, it just never happens.

What would those emailers prefer? A grammatically-correct, beautifully written prose that perfectly spills my thoughts and emotions… but a month later than they were hoping? Or a timely response, perhaps a bit on the short side, but to the point and satisfactory, while still being friendly?

I’m going back to my stance of a five sentence limit. I can count on two hands the times each year I need to write a much longer email that requires a lot of thought. I can make a special occasion for those.

Oh, and I’ll pay it forward for those I’m emailing, adding a short-but-friendly “No need to respond” to each of my messages that only require their eyeballs, not their keyboards. I love it when people do that for me.

6. Make peace with the beast.

All this means there’s a good chance I won’t see “You have no new email messages” from Gmail anytime soon. Or ever. But I’ve decided to be okay with it.

When did it become the mark of a successful day if I got through all my email? When did that trump laundry folding or book reading? I don’t feel guilty when I go to bed and my dishes aren’t perfectly stacked in evenly spaced rows, or that the spines of our books aren’t perfectly aligned on the shelf.

So why does my stomach churn when I open my inbox and see email that I still haven’t opened? It’s really not that big a deal, when you think about it.

Email won’t ever depart my life, and I’m awfully glad I have access to this useful, free tool. But it’s time to give it the rightful place it deserves: just one of several things I do in a productive day. It’s not my master.

What are your favorite tricks for slaying the email beast?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this open and honestness. I am about to start maternity leave and the temptation to be online all the time has in the past caused alot of wasted time. Thanks for giving me the freedom in advance to have set times when I respond to emails and leave the rest until another day.

  2. I won’t tell you how many unread emails I have . . . it’s embarrassing!

    One tip I picked up recently was not to CHECK email until you had some time to RESPOND to email. (I think it was from Rachel Meeks’ Simple Blogging ebook.)

    I find this to be key (although I’m still working it). When I check email quickly with no time to respond, it seems to weigh on me all day. I keep thinking about it and feeling bad that I haven’t replied! Obviously I need to demote it’s importance.

    I suppose this can’t always work, since you must leave some unanswered when you get 38 emails overnight, but at least you can make a dent in it rather than leaving everything undone :)

    • Yes, this is true. This is what I do when I open my email twice a day now — don’t even open the inbox unless I have those 30 minutes to process them. It does weigh all day, doesn’t it?

  3. Adore your 5 sentence tip. I love email. I prefer it over the phone. Our house is tiny and our family is large and loud. I can’t hear. So people email me – and I treasure it. I relish that I can respond on my own timetable; it seems to be so much forgiving than the phone. My beast is the food shopping. Very demanding. xoxo michele

  4. Tsh, I love your tipps! I unsubscribed to about everything a few weeks ago, too. Another tipp for those who still want to receive newsletters is to have an extra e-mail-adress just for newsletters. Or automatically file them in a seperate folder. That way they won’t clutter up your inbox and you can read them in your own time.

    (Oh, and just seeing this comment form: I also never check “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”. I did when I first started reading blogs, but I’ve learned my lesson. :-) )

  5. I blogged about my GMail beast of an Inbox recently, too. One thing I discovered that helped me get it under control was creating “filters” that auto file emails of stores I subscribe to (for their coupons) into a file/label without me ever touching the email or having to read it. I also created filters for some blogs and sites I read via email so their posts go directly into a saved file without ever passing through my Inbox. Then I just read them at my leisure.
    The label/file names go BOLD when one has arrived, so I can easily see I have an email from Hobby Lobby or whatever store waiting patiently for when I need it. But I don’t have to open it or look at it until I need it. :) This system is working great now and ever since I implemented it, my Inbox is no long increasing, but is finally decreasing in size. Yay! I’m not sure I can link here in this comment to the post I wrote about with the steps for creating filters, but it’s under the heading “Tutorials” at my blog in case anyone needs it. It’s greatly helped with whipping that ole GMail box into shape. :) Appreciate your tips in this post!

    • I used to love filters with Gmail, until I found that I’d just never open any of those filters at all — I’d never see them again, which is just as good as not getting them at all. For my sanity, I prefer to have one inbox, just outsource those other emails as much as possible. I know not everyone has an assistant, but at least knowing someone else sees those emails that bypass my inbox helps a lot.

      • I was going to put pretty much the same comment as Susan, so I’m glad she beat me too it! I see what you are saying about never seeing the emails again, but I still see a benefit of having some of the email.

        Most specifically, I like the idea of having the catalog of some of the “mommy” newsletters that come out in my area. They’ll always have links to calendars or some kind of info I will probably want later. So I filter them directly in to a “mommy newsletters” folder, but I mark them read. Then I have no need to read them, but they are still searchable in my gmail.

        I’ve found it helpful a number of times. Less flailing around the giant World Wide Web when I’m looking for something I know I heard about from so-and-so who read it in her email kind of thing.

  6. I don’t have any tips. I just leave them in there. I have made peace with having 4-figured unread emails. Most of them are junk but I don’t know the way to nor can my heart handle deleting all my emails before 2005 without looking at them again. Occasionally, I am glad that I haven’t deleted everything, like, I can search on the price I paid for some products online 3 years ago :) I also recently start unsubscribing any new mailing list emails I received and delete those old, unread emails at the same time. But more for the sake of preventing myself from buying more “on-sale” items that just end up sitting in my home, like those emails in my inbox. You see, I am a packrat.

    I really like that 5-sentence rule but I am horrible at summarizing since I was first given the assignment as a kid (in case you haven’t noticed already). Writing a short reply takes me at least as long, if not longer. But I will work at it because your “timely response” really strike me.

    Thank you.

  7. Until reading this post, I hadn’t realised that I feel much the same way! I love that not only did you share your thoughts and feelings, you included ideas on how to make it happen. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I am a big fan of the delete button! I drive my husband nutty at times with my over-zealous deleting, but I never have more than one screen worth of emails in my account at any one time. (I am the same with phone text messages). As soon as I have replied to something, or read it, it goes. I have only regretted my decision to delete twice in the time I have used email.

    But, my inbox is NOTHING in comparison to yours! All the best with it.

    • I love the delete button, too. I used to archive everything, until about two years ago, when I asked, “Why?” If it has some piece of info I might need in the future (password, dates, etc.) I’ll archive it — otherwise, I like obliterating it via delete. Feels good. :)

  9. Unsubscribe is a great tip!! I hardly read any of the newsletters that are sent my way. My rule of thumb is if I can respond to an email in two minutes or less I will respond right then. If more than two minutes (and assuming I don’t have time) then I wait.

  10. Love the 5 sentence rule, but love the “no need to respond” even more.

    Brilliance.

    (Can I just gripe about something? When people use reply all for emails and you end up with WAY too many emails about subjects that could have been handled more simply?)

    Sorry, I digress. I loved this post!

  11. This is great, and so well timed! I used to be able to tell people “I READ your email, I’m just not always fantastic about responding.” But recently even that fell by the wayside (after a new baby–a good reason, at least!)

    So I’ve tightened things up a bit and now I’m reading it all again. I too have become a ruthless un-subscriber, and I’ve sworn to the “touch it once” rule for my email–if I open it, I need to decide what to do about it RIGHT THEN so I don’t have to look at it again!

    These are wonderful tips. I need to get in the habit of simply not opening my email except for designated times, like you suggested.

  12. I am so with you on this Tsh. My inbox probably has over 1000 emails. Most have been opened and read, andthe important ones have been responded to. The majority of the rest are “interesting” or “needful info” that I ought to read. I am going to have to just delete most of them.
    Many of those came from the earlier days of blogging last year when I signed up for everything as I knew nothing! I have unsubscribed from much of it now.
    One thing I will do, is if someone is offering something for suscribing, I will subscribe and then go back and unsub afterwards. Or sometimes I will give it a week or so to see if it is profitable for me to recieve their emails. Most of the blogs I read, I do so in reader.
    Thanks for sharing and being real Tsh! Can’t wait to see the house!
    Bernice

  13. Thanks for this post. my email is out of hand as well…but I think i am managing it.

    here is one big tip I give at my coupon classes: set up a junk email account. Since I run a coupon blog, and even if I didn’t I am a coupon junkie….I am constantly signing up for deals and coupons etc. I dont’ give them my important email address. I set up another free email address somewhere that I call my junk email . and that is the email I give to anyone who is not a personal friend or someone important. This way, I get to it when I get to it. and I usually just delete most of it.
    I also have an email connected with my blog.
    In some ways, having 3 emails is hard to manage, but in other ways, it helps me with my time. if I know I have 5 min. to check email, i decide which is the most important, business, family or fluff.

    does this make sense? hope it helps someone

    • Yes, I do have a number of email addresses. Most of them go into my one inbox, but a few go to other people. A good tip.

  14. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post.

    Like you, I now have an assistant (actually, a site manager) who handles the bulk of Mogul Mom email. Ahhhh…the relief! :)

    My favorite email slaying tricks are Gmail filters and canned responses – it’s like my emails are read and replied to auto-magically. ;)

    Thanks for leading by example, Tsh…I’m definitely following your lead.

    Heather

  15. I mean if we all got together with all our emails we probably could write a 75 chapter book. I get 400-500 a day, then I have one of them writing the next day “well have you decided if you want to join?” I sent them a very friendly “Take me off Your list”
    I mean, I can’t get to answer anyone and my download box looks like my inbox. I have so many offers, that if I could keep ink in my printer, I could live free for a year. No just kidding, I am just trying to find out how I can say nicely that I have not slept in 3 days and I am going through menapause, what else can I say? I am the Royal B—–. I have earned it! I have never seen so many people that can be so cruel if you don’t buy or download their stuff. I mean how do they know what I am doing? I feel like I have eyes on me at all times with this computer on. Well gal’s gonna go lye down and get some sleep before the mid morning shift comes on. Later, write me! Let’s be pals, not nerve endings. :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a GREAT WEEK!

  16. As others have mentioned, I have a junk email address that I use for newsletters etc. I check it at least once a day, delete what I know I don’t need to look at ever, and read the ones that I might be interested (ie there is a coupon offer inside). My inbox is so out of control! I got a new email address 3 years ago but still use my old one as well. Both inboxes are way too full. I hate to delete emails though because I often refer back to them. In my sent items to. In fact I recently asked my husband to print out something he had translated from English to Taiwanese and emailed to his dad a couple of years ago. He kindly informed me that he doesn’t keep sent emails for as long as I do. LOL! I’d love to only check email twice a day but, oh my, that would take a ton of discipline!

  17. I recently felt the same about my email inbox and have done many of the same things you have decided to do, especially the unsubscribing. I feel SO much better about the amount of emails I get now.

  18. Oh I love how you are calling your email a “beast”! :)
    Actually I do not have a problem using the Delete button, it gives me the feeling that I AM in control. I usually delete those emails that I only get the copy of, if it was important for the sender that I answered, he/she would send me an other mail…I guess.

  19. LOVE this blog post. I am subbed to a few blogs (yours included) e-mails, but only the ones I genuinely love to open and read the majority of the time. Everything else I’ve put on the chopping block. I have 176 “priority e-mails” and over 2,500 unread e-mails. And none of them date back before July. So in one month, I have yet to read 2,500 e-mails… still. It was getting ridiculous and I was spending too much time just trying to dump un-read e-mails. I have seriously been thinking of doing e-mail bankruptcy, closing my account and starting anew. Although, I think instead I’m going to follow more of your strategies, and close that inbox.

  20. I’m also returning to my roots of closing my email all but twice per day. I’ll check it once in the morning, and again in the late afternoon. I’ll close out everything else, and only process email for 30 minutes at each sitting.

    I have been working incredibly hard to do this over the summer with the kids home and it drives me INSANE that some people think their emails are so incredibly important (they’re usually so far from that) they feel the need to “follow up” after less than a day, thus making the inbox situation even worse. Especially when the email starts something like “I know you’re on vacation, but I wanted to follow up…” I want to scream “YES! I am on VACATION. NOT WORKING. Spending time with my FAMILY!”

    I’ve always thought that it was standard to follow up if it’s been a week and you received no response when one was needed. Then after a follow up if there is still no response, I assume that the person is not interested. I stop bugging them and junking up their inbox.

    Sorry for the rant and thanks for sharing your strategies. :)

  21. I totally agree! Except the number in my inbox bothers me, so what I end up doing everyday is just checking everything and mark them as “read” even though I haven’t looked at them. Ones I think are important, I usually star; but what ends up happening is that some emails are left unanswered and bill notifications are left unread sometimes. But I refuse unsubscribe for fear that ONE DAY I might need one of the emails that these vendors are sending..

    Triffles.
    L

  22. avatar
    Christie says:

    With this encouragement, I just cleaned out one email box … one more to go. And I unsubscribed to almost all of those daily advertisements that cluttered my box.

  23. It’s like you wrote this email for me! I have long thought I was the only one who struggled with their inbox. If I don’t deal with my emails every day, they pile up and it has been stressing me out!

    my own success has been to click on the “from” line. That aligns all my emails by “who sent it” and I can filter out what’s importnat based on that. Then I go and do the same thing with the “subject” line and filter emails about important topics.

  24. I definitely need to bookmark this post. I have 21,244 emails in my inbox. Yes, you read that correctly. It started with Katrina – it was hard to part with emails first for the connection, then for the information, and finally posterity. And having those made it hard to manage others.

    I have gotten off of some email lists…and on to others. I work FT which makes it harder to find the time to cull. So often, I want to look at something…later when I have time. Of course I also have work email. It doesn’t tell me how many – but it’s a lot. And we are encouraged to save emails, but they don’t always get into the email folders that they should.

  25. Awesome tips (and confession)! The email inbox is a beast, I know it all too well. I hardly know anyone who’s got it under control. I like the batching idea best–don’t be chained to it all day, just have a scheduled time twice daily, to check (and respond to) emails. Don’t look at email unless you’ve got time to respond. Something I’m working on!!

  26. Fabulous advice! I especially like #3 and 4. I recently started following the rule that I will not check my email unless I have time to respond. Now I will just check it twice a day. You are right – such a waste of time to keep it open!

  27. Everyone, it seems, wants my email. Last time I went to the dentist they wanted my email address so they could send me regular hints on keeping my teeth clean. I didn’t want to receive it, but that didn’t occur to them.

  28. Oh yeah. This is soooo for me. I received your wonderful book for my birthday recently and really felt convicted that I waste too much time on the computer. I have been unsubscribing like crazy (including all those hour-sucking games! ) It has been a whole week since I’ve started my new, freer life and it’s amazing how many hours have been added to my day (um, I’ve actually finished some projects I started eons ago.) I still have plenty of lists to unsub from, but after my initial blitz, I’ve been choosing one each day to delete. Btw, I won’t be unsubcribing from Simple Mom! :-D

  29. I have too many emails in my inbox. As I type this, there are 212 unread emails sitting in my mailbox. I have filters in my Gmail and I’m fooling myself to think that there are no more unread mails in my inbox but the truth is they are hiding in assigned folders.

  30. You need some filters! You can have email skip your gmail inbox and head straight to a filter. I have one for “Daily Deals” for things like Groupon. I don’t check it every day, and I can quickly delete everything if I’ve gotten behind there. I filter all electronic bills, so I can access them when I am addressing my budget weekly, etc. It makes checking my email so much less stressful. Good luck in getting through all that! :)

    • I do have filters — about 20 right now in Gmail — but I still get too much email. Basically, I’m working on creating more filters (or “rules,” if I switch to Apple Mail) so that only friends, family, and important work contacts get through. The rest are processed by my assistant. We’ll see if it works. :)

  31. Unsubscribing is key! I’m the same way as you, I leave messages unread as memos of To Dos. If I don’t have time to do it, I don’t bother with it.

  32. I guess i know why my email never got a response ;0
    I love the 5 sentence thing! Sheer genius! I have two email accounts: business and life…they have NEVER been empty. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I have most notifications and email lists going to my junk mail folder. I usually check that folder every day, but don’t worry if I miss something because most of it is crap.

    The only things that go to my inbox are things from my friends and contacts I’ve approved to go there. Then, I have separate email accounts for my blog and freelance work, but so far those aren’t very active, so I don’t have the issues you do!

  34. Email is part of a home based business but you are right that it doesn’t have to control us….WE have to control it. You gave some great tips today… one of my favorite ways to keep my email under control is foldering…. It works in my REAL job as well as at home…… OH by the way, I am in the middle of your book and LOVING it… thanks for such great ideas in such a simple to understand but well written way….

  35. I’m going to go against the common theme here and say that I keep my inbox under control by keeping my e-mail up throughout the day (I get anywhere between 100 – 300 e-mails per day depending on what’s going on). I use Outlook “categories” for each of my team members. It allows me to flag it as needing discussion with the individual so it sits in their “category” in my inbox and I go through them all when we have our one-on-one meetings. That said, I do one of the following when I receive an e-mail:

    – Flag for one of my team members if we need to discuss
    – Send quick responses to items that can be easily addressed
    – Pick up the phone if it can be quickly resolved via discussion
    – Forward on to others if they can/need to address
    – File if it’s something I do not need to act on but need to find for later (in Outlook, you can double-click on the subject line and modify which makes it easier to find later)
    – Delete

    This has really helped me stay organized and stay on top of my e-mail.

  36. The best thing I ever did to my email was to set up a couple of rules that send certain emails to folders rather than my inbox. Things like newsletters and facebook or twitter updates that I want to see but don’t need to see straight away perhaps. Now they sit in folders and I can see that there are some there without them cluttering my inbox.

    I also gave myself permission to delete a stack of emails without reading them sometimes. My idea is that if I haven’t read them yet then I’m not interested so “delete”!

  37. I find that me email effectiveness goes in waves. For a while I am unbalanced due to a crazy schedule and then I find a narrow window of opportunity to clean it up. Phew…what a load off…until my next imbalance episode. That’s okay with me though because I know this too shall pass.

    I do love the new Outlook features of Ignore Conversation and
    Clean up Conversation though. When I check email a couple times a day its so nice to rely on those buttons. I can’t bear to think about how much time I would spend looking at replies to threads before that. I love these new tools.

  38. Thanks for this post, Tsh. I appreciate your candor. You are not alone, and I think your ideas for tackling the beast are great. It’s comforting to know that someone else — as famous as you are — struggles with the same issue.

  39. I’ve been trying to implement some of the time management strategies in Making it All Work (Allen) and the one that seems to be ‘sticking’ is the 2 minute rule. If a task takes less than 2 minutes to do, I just do it right then. (Of course, a secession of 2 minute tasks can take an hour :) I check my email several times a day but try to purpose to delete 10 and answer 2. Part of what I’ve had to let go is proofreading, which is very humbling. But I’m a language arts kind of person and when I re-read something, I can always find a way to make it sound better….even in emails. It’s ridiculous! I especially like your last sentence in this post :)

  40. enjoyed this and am enjoying your podcasts on iTunes as well! Saw in your inbox pic an email from spotify! That one you need to open! Have been streaming music for a week it is like having a record store in your pocket with playlists that auto sync between your phone, work or home computers. So if you like to listen to music while you work … Open that one. Lol!

  41. The only way I’ve been able to manage my e-mail is to divide them into two main accounts: personal & work. That way, when I’m done with my projects for the day, I can focus on answering personal e-mails and catching up with that area. I suppose there is no “one right way”. Maybe someday they’ll invent a program to organize e-mail a little better.

  42. The key for me is multiple email accounts. Garbage goes into Yahoo (you know what I mean – every website that requires an email, Gap, amazon, etc. – nothing critical). I don’t even bother deleting anything. It’s where everything that falls into the “who cares” category goes.

    I have 3 “I DO care” accounts based on how much I REALLY care. One is for things I may want to read when I’m bored. Newsletters and such. But only one is stuff I’m going to take action on RIGHT AWAY.

    You could probably do the same thing with a single account and folders but whatever :O

  43. I do the unsubscribe thing too when things get out of control. If I don’t read it, I don’t want it in my inbox, especially if the list turns out to mostly send ads.

    I also have a lot of filters on my email. Emails from family and known sources are automatically sent to appropriate folders so they never get lost in the clutter.

  44. I use rules for all my incoming mail, so everything goes nicely into files. This will also determine which mail to read first. Unsubscribing from mailing lists I never use is a must for me too.

    Last but not least: I’ll have my email client pick up mail from the server only once per hour. This used to be every 5 minutes or so, so you can imagine how distracting that was!

  45. I started my journey towards Living Simply a little over a year ago and now I’m in the first 1/4 of your book right now…it is a long, slow and rather tedious journey for me as I am a sentimental “collector” well, sentimental pack-rat would be more like it but that just sounds disgusting. But, now then we’re moving to another home and having to pack up 27.5 years of our “memories” including packing up our son’s room (which is just the way he last left it before he was killed in a tragic car accident 5.5 years ago…packing up that room is just killing me…and I cannot IMAGINE even giving away or getting rid of any of my son’s stuff…I’m just sick over it all, but I have to figure out what to do with it all).
    Anyway…the post on conquering email is great. I’d already started unsubscribing from newsletters and notices, so I’m on the right track there.
    My question is what do I do with all the email that is under filed such as receipts for online billpay and tax receipts and purchases/software keys etc. I refuse to print them all out because that is just more “clutter” to have to file and keep track of.
    I still have over 2,000 messages in my Outlook and that’s not counting three other gmail accounts that I have for other things….I know I have such a lot of email to go through and “stuff” even though some of it is not just “stuff” but all the tangible things we have left of our only beloved son…hmmm…It just makes me sad to think about having to finish this move to away from our little “House of Dreams”.

  46. Oopsss…. reminds me… I haven’t open one of my emails inbox for a month. LOL I guess it’s going to be very crowded there.

  47. I just wrote an article on HubPages addressing this same problem…which I have been dealing with. It is called Speed Cleaning Your Email. Using labels or folders, archiving and “delete”. Quick actions.

  48. avatar
    Julia B. says:

    You might like this (or parts of it): http://emailcharter.org/ :-)

  49. I get hundreds of e-mails a day. Sometimes I am so on top of things and sometimes NOT. I do need to do a good unsubscribe.

    I love my Gmail filters, but am too lazy to set up new ones for new things that start coming in. I will set aside a day soon to just unsubscribe.

  50. Tsh, this post made my day! I love having an empty email inbox (I organize it GTD-style), but as my website has been growing, it’s been getting harder and harder to keep up with it all. I love your email perspective, and I think your 30-minute rule is brilliant. Otherwise, it’s an easy three hours a night just managing emails and the little projects that go with them. Thanks for your example. I learn so much from you! (I just went to BlogHer this past weekend and had hoped you’d be on a panel there, but I did meet Maya Bisineer, which was a treat.) I hope to meet you some day, as well. Take care and thanks for all you do.

  51. You may have seen it on Ann Voskamp’s blog but in case any of you haven’t: http://emailga.me/
    Looks lovely though since I don’t use gmail on a regular basis, I could not check it out yet.

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