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The marketing world dumps email on me the way Isaac’s dumping rain on the scorched Midwest.
The other night I realized I receive about 70 automatic, daily email updates across 3 email accounts. Seventy! I’m guessing I receive another 20 weekly and a dozen monthly.
I signed up for most of them, I guess. But I don’t read them.
In fact, here’s a list of all the automatic emails that actually read every day:
- Seth Godin (morning)
- SAI Chart of the Day (end of day)
That’s it. Two. Out of 73 or so spam emails I get every day, I open two.
Use my method to de-clutter your inbox this weekend.
1. Unsubscribe from every email that has an unsubscribe link or button. That’s right, get rid of all of them, unless you read them every day. (I’m keeping Seth and SAI.)
2. If you can’t unsubscribe in two clicks, just report the email as spam. Why should you jump through hoops to get yourself off some marketer's email list? You shouldn’t. Responsible organizations and companies provide one- or two-click unsubscribe. If an email doesn’t, click your “Report Spam” button and put them on notice. If enough people report emails as spam in certain amount of time, government sanctions can hit the offending spammer. Hitting the spam button will get their attention, and your email system will, in most cases, automatically delete future emails from the offenders.
3. Archive or delete everything in your inbox. Everything. If you have time for only one of these 5 steps, make it this one. I tried David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method back when his first book was in hardback. The system is built on a sound philosophy, but I spent most of my day organizing, not working. That's where I learned about the beauty of an empty in-box. I no longer empty my inbox every day, but I do empty it completely a few times a year.
4. Try Outlook.com for personal email. Windows 8 might be the disaster that brings Microsoft to its knees, but they got Outlook.com right. After 15 minutes on Outlook.com, Gmail looks like a cluttered wreck. Give it a whirl before the good email addresses are gone. (See note below, though, on an annoying Outlook.com bug.)
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5. Consolidate your email accounts. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I had way too many email accounts to manage:
- Work (Exchange)
- Personal (Gmail)
- Personal Blog
- Business Blog
I used Outlook’s simple POP3 tool to pull new emails from all of my other accounts. That gives me just two email accounts to log into: work and not work.
Give yourself about two hours to complete these steps if you have a lot of daily spam. In the end, you’ll have a cleaner email world and a beautiful email app free from distractions. Your mind will feel cleaner, too.
NOTE: There is one glaring bug in Outlook.com. In IE9, when you’re writing, the backspace key deletes two characters, not just one. OMG, is that frustrating. What’s more annoying is that I can’t reproduce the bug in Chrome or Firefox—only in the browser the Microsoft makes! I’ve entered two trouble tickets, but Microsoft hasn’t responded. In the meantime, don’t use IE if you’re using Outlook.com.
- Email Smackdown: Outlook.com vs. Gmail (mashable.com)
- 6 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft's New Outlook.com (howtogeek.com)
- How to Combine All Your Email Addresses into One Outlook.com Inbox (howtogeek.com)
- We Take a Look at The Outlook.com Email Service From Microsoft and Help You Get Started (vikitech.com)
- Why You Need at Least 4 Email Addresses (apartmenttherapy.com)