OK, I have a confession to make. When it comes to Email, I am a true hoarder. I’m pretty good about physical clutter, but I live and die by my computer. When it comes to Email or digital files, I never like to get rid of ANYTHING. That is classic hoarding behavior, but because it’s digital data, it doesn’t seem so bad. But it definitely impacts my life and my work as a blogger.
Part of it is that I think I might need stuff later. To be honest, saving Emails has occasionally saved my BUTT. But it’s also a matter of laziness and bad habits. I’m probably not going to need that daily grades notification from my son’s school, or my balance alert from my bank, but do I delete it after reading it? No. I skim through, take a quick glance and move on to the next message without deleting it. I do that maybe 50 or 100 times a day, because like everyone, I get a LOT of Emails.
I also have a lot of newsletters and things from some of my blogger friends and I read a lot of them – well some of them, well, when I have time….. Actually, it makes me sad because I do have some terrific blogs that I LOVE to read, but they sometimes get buried in my inbox!
Apparently, I’m not unique at all in my Email hoarder habits. When I proudly posted on Facebook that I had deleted fifteen THOUSAND Emails, many of my friends came back with similar woes. One even said that she had FORTY thousand Emails in her hoarder stash – yikes!
So, I decided I needed to put some structures in place to get my Email hoarding under control. I had written some Email tips in an earlier post 7 Tips to Get Your Email to WORK for You, but I’ve come up with some new strategies that are even more helpful.
My BEST Email tips to overcome your own hoarding habits
- Spark Mailbox App – This is a free app by Readdle and I just LOVE it. Believe me, I’ve tried just about everything to read Email on my phone, and I think this one is the best. It organizes your Email into several categories like important messages, notifications, starred items, and newsletters. Works really nicely.
- Delete as you Go – Part of it is just retraining your brain and building new habits. It’s not an easy change for a dedicated hoarder – but it gets to the heart of the matter.
- Set up Filters – I know how this works in Gmail, but I’m not sure how it works in other Email apps. Check YouTube for how to set them up in your Email client. I already had a ton of filters already, but I’m adding some more filters especially to minimize my Email backlog. I have one for Facebook-type messages, and then a category called Read and Delete for various notification-type Emails. I also set up a separate Fiverr category for the millions of messages I get from my Fiverr.com clients. I’ve been doing a ton of work on Fiverr lately, so that generates dozens of daily Emails. That way, if I fall down on the job on my resolution to delete as I go, I can just click on these filters and bring up groups of Emails that I can just delete in clumps.
- Delete Strategy – Another thing that helped a lot is that I changed HOW I delete Emails. When I do get overwhelmed and my Email got too out of control, I would go through pull up a hundred Emails at a time and just delete like crazy. But I realized I was doing it backward. I would take that list of 100 Emails and go through and just click the ones I wanted to delete and sometimes that might only get me 50 deletes out of 100. Now, I click on all 100 Emails and I just unclick the ones I want to KEEP. This way, I’m getting like 80 deletes out of 100. Then I can move the Keepers off into appropriate folders. It’s a simple change, but it makes a big difference.
So, I hope these tips help you with your own hoarder habits. I’ve cut my inbox down by about 1/3 using these tips and I continue to improve daily.