6 Steps For Detoxing Your Inbox
Our inboxes have become perpetually overflowing mountains of irritation. As one of the main forms of digital communication, hundreds of emails can cross our path each day. Most of which we won’t even read, just pass over them as they eventually move down the page along with the thousands of other emails you will never look at again on pages 2-500. Now imagine only having a few emails to deal with each day, and at the end of the day, your inbox is as clean and clear as teenage you wished your skin was. Don’t think that’s possible for you? Here are 6 steps to detox your inbox and achieve that inbox zero everyone is talking about.
1. Unsubscribe From Everything
In today’s world, you have to enter your email to do just about anything on the internet. Almost every website you visit has a newsletter sign up, and half of them you accidentally sign up for when all you wanted to do was buy a new candle for your mom. A harmless action that causes your inbox to be bombarded daily with newsletters, announcements, and product sales that you will never look at. So the first step of detoxing your inbox is to get familiar with that little link at the bottom of all of those emails “unsubscribe”. Yes, it is required by law that every newsletter has an opt-out option, so here is a trick to find all of those subscriptions; Search your inbox for that magic word “unsubscribe” and voila there is your list. Now it will take some time to unsubscribe to everything, so group all of those emails by sender and once you officially unsubscribe delete the whole group. That way you're clearing out while you unsubscribe.
2. Did You Get That Package?
Now I won't even deny my addiction to online shopping. Amazon Prime has changed my life and I bet your right there with me. So, take a good hard look at your order history and ask yourself, do I still need that order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and delivery confirmation? The answer is NO! So why are you still letting it take up space in your inbox? Delete all of those old emails you won't need them again and if for any reason you need to return that item, you can still find your order history on their site.
3. This is IMPORTANT!
Have you ever looked for an important email and had to sift through page after page just to find it? Your important emails should be easy to find quick to get to and saved in a folder labeled in all caps IMPORTANT! Find those closing documents, those tax refunds, those membership renewals, your certification confirmations, whatever you come across that you would want quick access to and put them in a folder top of your list. Set yourself up for efficiency and save time you might have spent looking for those emails.
4. Who do you talk to regularly?
Take a page out of Santa’s book; make a list, check it twice, and then make folders for everyone you talk to often. You can put all of your clients into one folder, you can even be crazy like me and make subfolders for each client. Group emails by job or by company whatever system works for you. No more are the days you have to go digging through page after page trying to reference your last conversation. It's right there.
5. You Get a Folder! Everything Gets a Folder!
You already have your important folder, and folders for the people you talk to most, so what about the rest of it? If it’s still relevant and you’re not ready to delete it or archive it, make a folder for it! Try your best to categorize these emails into as specific of groups as you can. Have a bunch of potential client emails? Put them in a Biz Dev folder. Did you keep some of those newsletters you really enjoy reading when you have time? Put them in a subscription folder. And if you absolutely need to, make a miscellaneous folder, because somethings just don’t fit in a box.
6. Your New Favorite Word: “Archive”
So, after you have cleared out the junk and set up your folders you get down to the part most people struggle with; deleting things. It’s a hard concept for many people because “what if I need it one day?” So, for those that have that fear, here is your new favorite word “Archive”. Get those old emails out of your inbox but put them in a safe place you can look at if that someday ever comes around. You can also take the three-tiered step approach to archive your emails: 1. Short Term Archive, this is for emails you received this month that have already been dealt with. 2. Long Term Archive, after one-month, emails in the short term go live in the long-term archive until 1 year later they move to 3. Deep Archive where they reside for the rest of eternity (or until you get really into email detoxing and clean that out too).
Now I’m not going lie to you, clearing out your inbox and truly detoxing your emails is not a quick click of the “that was easy” button. It will be a very tedious, time-consuming task that will most likely take you down a very weird path through memory lane, at least it did for me. But it will also be cathartic and cleansing. It will set you up with a fresh new outlook at answering emails making your day more productive and easier to manage. And I promise you won’t miss those archived emails one bit.
So, if an email detox and working with Inbox Zero sounds like something you would love to do but would never have the time to do it? Give us a call! Our Email Detox service is as close as you can get to hitting that easy button. Contact us today to see how we can help you!