I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is also a client. She confessed to me that she unsubscribed from my ezine and everything else coming into her inbox. It’s not that she doesn’t like me it’s that she’s totally overwhelmed. I know, I feel it too. In fact, the other day I was reading an article about “spam management” and keeping your inbox clear by using a service to consolidate and sift through all the emails coming in from retailers as we approach the holiday season. Here’s a link to the article in case you’re interested.
I generally keep my inbox pretty empty. Things come in, I do them or not. I read through ezines that interest me or delete them. Lately, however, I’ve noticed the number of emails in my inbox creeping up. I kept telling myself “today is email day.” I would decide that I would get through them, deal with it and be done. Somehow it wouldn’t get done.
As someone who works with the clients on productivity and managing things like email I know a couple of things about it. For the most part your inbox is full of other people’s priorities. Sure you may get value out of the ezines you receive (including this one) and apply the concepts you read about to your business and your life, however the truth is an ezine is a way for the sender to stay in your mind. I don’t send out a weekly ezine because it’s fun (although I do like writing them), I send it out to give you ideas that will help you in your business and life. I send it out so that you get to know me and that if you need help in the areas of growing your business and productivity you think of me and the programs I offer.
The trouble comes in because there’s so much of it. I highly doubt that my ezine is the only one in your inbox. Keeping your inbox under control is not about using the fancy spam management services outlined in the article I mentioned earlier it is about making decisions about what you truly want to be seeing and doing and what you don’t. It’s about balancing your needs versus the needs of the sender. In the end, it’s about using what you receive and taking action.
I did get my inbox back under control. Here are the three strategies I used to clean it out.
- Sort your inbox by sender. For the most part you can delete (or file if necessary) all but the most recent email.
- For the ezines and other “information” type emails you receive, consider what you read regularly and which you tend to save until later and never get to. For those that you save until later it’s time to unsubscribe.
- ACT on what’s left in your inbox. That means, read and delete it, file it for your records, DO it …respond, decide, MOVE the process along.
So what’s been hanging out in your inbox that you need to make a decision about? Is there an opportunity lurking there that you’re unsure of? An invitation that you haven’t rsvp’d to? A recording that you’ve been meaning to listen to for weeks but haven’t gotten to? My challenge to you is to make a decision. Decide to do it or not. Go or not go. And listen or not listen. What will you decide?