Monday, May 16, 2011

DOED week 1 - cut your email by half...

A short while ago, I was receiving emails on a continual basis from a multitude of sources: insurance carriers with whom I no longer had a policy, real estate companies, giveaways, joke forwards, chain letters, clothing retailers...You name it, and it made its way into my inbox. A portion of the mail was sent to me because of a legitimate query on my part. Five years ago. Yeah.

Always in a rush, I wouldn't take the time to open a new window and unsubscribe. Deleting them seemed easier.

Not anymore.

Would you like to cut your emails by half?

We'll use these 3 priniciples to make it happen.

  • Unsubscribe
  • Sort
  • Empty
I know some of you have impeccable inboxes. Others, myself included, not so much. Don't get overwhelmed and daunted because you see numbers in the triple digits when you log in. Do a few at the time, here and there.

Skim over. Read them. I know. Just get it over with. There's not much more that needs saying here.

Unsubscribe -Do you have 5 seconds?

  • Use them to unsubscribe and opt out. It saves me countless minutes I would inevitably squander later. Open the emails and scroll to the bottom. Usually, there is an unsubscribe link. Do yourself a favor and click it. Now...wait to hear the choirs of angels singing... Do you get alot of clothing or retail messages? Opt out of those emails and check your favorite retailer's web site only when you are ready to shop. (Sounds like a good idea for a series on money). All their sales and promotions are listed on the site. This prevents needless shopping just because you can't pass up a good deal via email. Use this same strategy for all marketing email that you don't want to receive any longer.

  • Weigh the relevance of the actual content of each message. Is it still interesting to you? Are you still doing business with the sender? Do you really enjoy receiving those jokes during the work day? A true friend will understand your plea to be omitted next time. You won't be sorry.

  • Use your nifty Spam button. Oh.yes.I.did. I never had used it before, and I don't know why. Now I do. It's spelled T.I.M.E. I thought I didn't have it, but by taking the time to innoculate all those poisonous, anonymous links, in random emails from senders with names I couldn't pronounce, I saved it in the long run. It's only one extra click that will pay big dividends later. Take advantage of it and use it. In short, work smarter, not harder. Boo-ya.

  • Edit your social media settings. Six months or more ago, I was tiredofbeingtired of the notifications from Facebook and Twitter excessively showing up in my inbox. I was notified every.single.time. a friend, a friend of a friend, or group I had joined, made a change. It was like the 'six degrees of separation' on steroids. Seriously. It was utterly ridiculous. All those little boxes in the account settings menu? Yeah. Mine were checked. By default. Shame on you, social media. Now, my inbox was getting notified about everbody and his brother. Again, always in a rush, I had never edited my settings. Tell me that someone other than me has continued to just check and delete these emails too. Indulge me. Please. Thank you. We'll talk more about social media in Week 3 on May 30, 2011.

Sort - Decide How You Want Them Organized

  • Create folders for your contacts. If you have never done so, try it. I did this a couple of years ago, but needed to do it again. I have acquired new contacts that are sending consistent mail that I want to receive. Moving email from my inbox to folders that I've created, helps keep my inbox clean and my mail culled. I no longer have to scroll through an endless maze to find a certain message. Some of my folders are labeled by a sender's name, a few are sorted by group names that I belong to with multiple contributors, and others are by sender and the year I received them. This is wonderful to create memories for later. This all sounds very complicated, but I assure you, it isn't. It saves an enormous amount of time. There are countless ways to organize your folders. Choose which one works for you.

Empty - Fuhhgedduuboutit!

  • Delete, delete, delete. With the remaining email in your inbox, decide if it's worth saving. It may be a onsie-twosie that you only get occasionally (Christmas letter from a friend you don't see anymore or have a relationship with, an annual letter from a school your child no longer attends, etc). Ask yourself if it carries weight with you personally or just weighing your inbox down, and then make a decision.

Your inbox should be eye candy now. High five yourself. No one's looking.

In the next challenge, posting on Monday May 23rd, I'll be talking about the blogging world.

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