Every year around this time I clean out my email inbox. And I mean clean it out: it gets gutted. I’m usually at the office and many people are on vacation, which means no meetings. Just time on my hands to get ready for the new year. One way I do that is to clean out my email.
I’m notorious for keeping every email. I’m bad about not wanting to delete an email because, “I might need it.” And, I use my email search tool to find emails throughout the year. This is a bad habit that I try to rectify at the end of the year. Here’s how I do it:
- Create folders
For emails that you absolutely, positively, must keep, put them in a “keepers” folder that sits outside your inbox.
This is the time of year to unsubscribe from ALL email that you never read. If you come across something in your inbox that you don’t want, never read, or just don’t have time for — unsubscribe. It takes a minute to do it, but will save you loads of time in the new year.
- Delete, delete, delete
It’s hard to delete some email, but delete you must. You have to make a decision if this message is worth your time in the future. It’s OK to delete, really it is. It’s actually freeing when you see your inbox reduce in size because you took these steps.
My final tip during this purge is to make a decision for every email as you come to it: either put it in a folder, unsubscribe from the list, and/or delete the email. Don’t skip over an email because you can’t make a decision.
For the worst of in boxes this process could take several hours, but you’ll end up with an empty box and a habit (folder, unsubscribe, or delete) to take you into the new year.
Photo credit: svilen001