Clutter is clutter, even if you can’t see it. If you’re logging into your email account and it shows that you have 3,558 unread messages and 7,942 total, you need to declutter your email. Searching through folders and filters to find information you need or saving every sent message is the equivalent of having so many stacks of boxes and papers in your garage that there’s no room to park a car in it or even walk through the piles. Even if your inbox isn’t overflowing, email is a constant and needs a system to stay manageable.
In the time it takes to browse Facebook and find a funny status update, you can create a daily system to declutter your email. Smartphones make it easy to check email, but you’re often scrolling over the messages you don’t have time to read and then never getting back to them.
- Get rid of any email backlog, set up aside 5 – 10 minutes a day to delete. Whether you use your phone to scroll through and have a Delete Fest, or you use the search function on your computer to find all the emails you’ve ever gotten from a person, a place, or wherever, delete until you’ve decluttered.
- When checking email on your phone, delete the quick read emails. Whether it’s a coupon offer from Target or a blog post you promise yourself you’ll read later but never do, delete it now.
- Unsubscribe from emails you don’t ever actually end up making the time to read, or filter them into a folder and then make an appointment on your calendar so you designate time to read those emails. If it turns out you ignore the calendar reminder every week or month, unsubscibe.
- It’s not realistic to think you’ll give your email your full attention every time you look at it. Something will come through that requires far more time or energy than you have at that moment. Commit to blocks of time to give important emails your full attention. If you’re doing regular decluttering of the quick stuff, you won’t have to scroll through all of it to get to what you actually need to handle. Depending on the volume of email coming in, your time commitment will be different, but set aside the time you need. Maybe it’s once in the morning, once in the evening. Maybe it’s a ten minute block or a thirty minute one. You’ll know pretty quickly if you need more or less time than you’ve designated.
Just like decluttering a house, cleaning out your email lets you see what your priorities are, how you’re spending your time or space. Ultimately, decluttering anywhere gives you the choice to not be filled up by things that don’t actually serve you and gives you the room for what will support your good life rather than distract you from it.
If you would like decluttering, organizing, or design help from spaceWise, call 512-591-8129 to get started.