Nearly every job, volunteer position and parenting of school-age kids comes with a LOT of emails. Add in all the retailers you opted into to get the discount code, and you’ve got a teeming full inbox on any given day.
If your inbox makes you feel overwhelmed, then it’s time to give your approach to email a simple overhaul. Here’s how I tamed the beast that was my inbox and changed my relationship to email from Ugh and Echh, to Ahhh and Bam!
First, spring clean your subscriptions. Unsubscribe from everything that’s no longer relevant to you. If you don’t find value, joy, inspiration or information, you’ve got to say buh-bye. And that even includes me. There are services, like Unroll.me, Cleanfox and Clean Email, that you can use that go through and identify all of the email newsletters and mailing lists you’re subscribed to (and no, these aren't affiliate links). This allows you to easily and efficiently go through and choose which ones to keep and bulk unsubscribe to the rest automatically. Just make sure to unsubscribe and uninstall the service once you’re done, or it can still scrub your data for their own purposes.
Second, figure out where and when you’re reading your emails. Are you looking at email all throughout the day? Is it when you're multi-tasking and your brain is torn between other work or kids or something/someone else? Are you trying to cram it in at a stoplight? No wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to fully digest them. I encourage you, no I IMPLORE you, to set aside dedicated, calendared, uninterrupted time to READ and DIGEST emails. I do email in the morning and in the late afternoon every day. Eliminating the scattered approach, and allowing your brain to focus on one thing, will make your inbox much easier to tackle.
Third, don't just read each email, DO something with it. When it is your designated time, here’s an easy flow to follow:
If it’s not relevant, delete. If you don’t want to ever hear from them again, unsubscribe now.
If it requires a response, respond now.
If it requires a response but it will require more time to do so, flag it urgent and schedule on your calendar when you’re going to respond.
If it’s a request for your time or an invitation and you don’t want to accept, decline now. Thank them, be honest that you don’t have time or it doesn’t fit with your priorities right now, and wish them the best. Do not allow this stuff to hang over your head, make you feel guilty and avoid your inbox. Put on your big girl panties and say NO.
If you need to save important info to put into use later (typical for work or school-related emails), calendar important dates and copy/paste/save critical info where you’ll be able to easily find and refer back to it.
If it’s a guilty pleasure that you want to read later (like shopping emails), put it in a folder labeled FUN and turn to it only when your must-do stuff if complete or you’ve marked off time on your calendar for it (like during lunch).
Remember, your email inbox isn’t a To-Do List that you have to refer to all throughout the day. It’s a list of everyone else’s priorities, not yours. You get to control when and what gets your attention. Put these tips into practice this week and tell me how it improves your relationship with your inbox. And share this blog with a friend you think could use an email overhaul too.
P.S. Speaking of feeling overwhelmed….and if life has you feeling stressed, anxious and unable to focus, my brilliant doc hubby has got you (and me) — Hallelujah! John created his latest NBI formula for us humans who could use a natural way to ease anxiety, a racing mind and inability to focus. 🤪 Watch me tell you how CALM + CLEAR has been a godsend for me and what it could do for you. Click here for Facebook or click here for Instagram.