Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WotW: Cleaning out your inbox

My husband and I have a standing "thing" that we do: when I first log in to my email for the day, he guesses how many new emails I will have. He always guesses what he thinks is high. And his guess is almost always l-o-w.

How many of these 40+ new daily emails do I actually read? Most days, 10 at the most. So, in working to simplify my life a little bit before my little one joins us (in, umm, 6 weeks?!?), I've decided to simplify my inbox.

Here's my game plan:

1 - Unsubscribe from the email lists that I *never* read. I know this sounds SO simple, but somehow I find it easier to just delete those emails daily/weekly than to take the few seconds to click Unsubscribe.

2 - Use my secondary email for any form I fill out where I won't suffer from a delayed reading of the messages. I set up a secondary email with Yahoo to basically be my spam email -- the email address I use for requesting free samples, filling out surveys, accounts for sites that I will probably only use once or twice (like those sale sites that offer free credits for signups... after I use that credit, I very rarely go back regularly). I check the account one every day or every other day -- often enough to monitor what is there, since the unimportant mail goes there instead of to my main email. It has worked great, but I've gotten lax on actually evaluating who I am giving my email address and deciding which address to use.

3 - Clean out my inbox EVERY day. I finally cleaned out my inbox last week after months of letting messages stack up here and there. Over 2000 messages in my inbox - yuck! So, my new philosophy is that if it's important and requires action, I will do my best to take that action immediately and then delete/archive the message. If I can't take action right away, the message can stay in my inbox... but I now evaluate the *entire* contents of my inbox every day. If there are more than about 10 messages in my inbox, I start a triage-style system and get rid of some!

4 - Evaluate the emails that I get from other web services (social networks, hosting services, etc) and change my account settings with that service so that I only get the emails that are actually important to me. For example, I don't want an email every time someone sneezes posts a status update on Facebook, but I do want to know when I have a new personal message or friend request. Those are my personal preferences, and I can set my account notifications to reflect that.

What clutters up your inbox? And how do you keep it neat and tidy?

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.
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