About three weeks ago, I realized that fully 40% of the emails I received in an average day were garbage. Marketing messages, sale announcements, newsletters I didn't remember subscribing to, etc. And that was just in my inbox - my junk mail filter caught even more. Every ten minutes, something would pop into my inbox that was irrelevant, irritating or intrusive. Important messages got lost in the shuffle, and my inbox was constantly full, something I hate.
For years, I'd just been deleting these messages in exasperation—sending them off to the trash without even reading them. It didn't take much time, but even a quick action repeated dozens of times a day ends up cutting into your productivity. As part of my quest to live more intentionally, I finally decided to do something about this inundation of nonsense. I decided that, instead of hitting "delete" on every obnoxious electronic sale flyer and solicitation of business and obscure weekly newsletter (Aviation Specialists Weekly, anyone?) that flooded into my email, I was going to scroll to the bottom, click unsubscribe and rid myself of these distractions permanently.
It's taken a few weeks, but after committing to this process every day, I'm finally at a point where nearly every email I receive is of value. (Minus those email chains where some dingaling hits "reply all" and blows up your inbox.) I know that when I open Outlook, I won't have to spend 15 minutes plowing through nonsense to get to the messages I actually need to action. It's incredibly freeing, and I'm kind of mad I didn't do it sooner...but that's true of every good habit I start. Now, the only challenge is to continue the process of unsubscribing when some internet purchase lands me on a five-email-a-day drip campaign for new underoos or snack foods. This is one of those habits that will have to be a lifelong battle.