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.
Benefits of Email Hoarding – IF Managed WELL
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. It’s much easier 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. Filters are so helpful for grouping your Emails or even auto-delete messages. I already had a ton of filters already, but I’m adding some MORE filters to minimize my Email backlog. You can clump your Facebook messages together, shopping Emails, bank notices, any similar type of messages to delete them easily. 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.
- Speed Delete Strategy – Another thing that helped a lot is that I changed HOW I delete Emails. I used to pull up a list of 100 Emails and click the ones I wanted to delete. But I realized I was doing it backward. Now I will pull up the same list and click all 100. Then I just unclick the ones I want to KEEP. You’ll get more done then. Then I can move the Keepers off into appropriate folders. It’s a simple change, but it makes a big difference.
- Get Some Help – Here is my absolute BEST tip for getting your Email under control. I have a service called Mailstrom that helps me manage my mailbox. It’s only about $6 a month and it has great features to help you unsubscribe from Emails quickly and easily, put them off until a later time, or my favorite – the Expire feature. If I haven’t read something in those first few days, I’m not gonna read it, so Mailstrom just whisks it off to an Expired folder. That way I can stick dig it out if I really need it, but it keeps my Email sooooo much cleaner. It’s really kinda brilliant.
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.
Here are some other posts you might enjoy:
Do Your Devices Need a Good Spring Cleaning?
7 Tips to Make Gmail WORK for You
Cleaning Tips to Make Life Easier and Great Smelling