If you’re like me, email can be overwhelming. Hunting for valuable customer, vendor and coworker communication between newsletters, promotions, updates from social media sites and the list goes on. Here are some quick tips for taking control of your inbox instead of being controlled by it!
Recognize that email in your inbox is NOT free.
Yes, the transmittal and storage is free or near-free but your time is expensive. In fact, your time is the most valuable thing you have. So, when you agree to receive that ‘free newsletter’ or get ‘updates’ just remember that you will ultimately have to filter through those to get to the real value in your mailbox – only agree to what you need!
Add this minor change to your inbox workflow. When you come across that newsletter or promotion ask yourself:
Can I put this information into practice right now?
How often do I open emails from this sender?
The Bottom Line
Promotions – unsubscribe! My example – I love photography and signed up for newsletters from the manufacturer of my camera as well as one or two retail vendors. I don’t purchase photography equipment on a regular basis and I don’t need to be in the immediate loop for new product announcements.
Newsletters – unsubscribe to dailies unless you genuinely look at each one and find it useful on a daily basis. If you enjoy a blog but don’t make time for their work every day – fine. Dump their newsletter and schedule some time during the week to read over the blog online.
My example: I’m a business process junkie and as such I’ve been on many blog mailing lists. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have time to read them all so I don’t let them clutter my inbox ‘just in case’. I know exactly where to find each of them and I make time to visit each blog at least a few times a month to catch up on new ideas or old ideas redeaux.
Result: Less irrelevant email. The newest information is a Google search away when I’m ready to look for a new camera or implement a new idea.
How I manage my subscriptions:
See the graphic above:
1. Find repeat email in inbox
2. Ask: Is this usable for me today/this week?
3. If ‘no’ ask: Is this something that I will read and file (evernote/mail folder/etc.) for future? Is it THAT important to me?
4. If 3 = ‘yes’ then file and move on to next email.
5. If 3 – ‘no’ then locate ‘unsubscribe’ link on email
– caution: if you signed up for a newsletter or updates and no longer want to recieve it then follow the process below. If you don’t recognize the sender, didn’t sign up in the first place or have a reason to believe that the email may be fraudulent then mark it as ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ and do not click any links that you find in the email as these can lead to malware or viruses.-
6. The ‘unsubscribe’ link will generally be at the bottom of the email (as small as the company can make it). Occasionally they will say something witty or clever but the general idea will be to get off the mailing list. Just click it.
7. You will usually be taken to a page that does one of three things:
You have been unsubscribed. – You’re done!
Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? – Just indicate that you are sure and then you’re done.
Manage your email preferences. – Here you will need to indicate that you want to be off one or more mailing lists. Don’t be intimidated – find the one that says unsubscribe from all or uncheck each one manually and unsubscribe. – You’re done!
Tip: Don’t let this become overwhelming. Unless you find yourself with nothing to do I wouldn’t go through my entire inbox in one sitting. Just think about each new newsletter that you get and deal with that one… that day… that’s it.
Share your favorite tips for managing your inbox in the comments!
Break time’s over… it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!
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