Decluttering my Gmail inbox has been one of my dreams that I thought would never come true. It used to give me countless sleepless nights! (I am exaggerating a bit here)
My first email was a Gmail account which I created back in 2008. That was the time when most of us didn’t know what to do with an email. Nevertheless I created one. (This is known as FOMO a.k.a. Fear of missing out!).
Since I was a real idiot back then, I started “subscribing” to everything which came across my way. From how to become a millionaire to getting a six pack within a month; I subscribed every newsletter.
After 8 years, I was left with 6873 unread emails in my inbox but no; I did not become a millionaire and no; I don’t have a six pack either.
I got so frustrated with my Gmail account and I created another one using Windows Live. Since then, I’ve been following some great rules of thumb to keep my inbox clean and declutterd. Life became good for some time but that Gmail account was still piling up with unwanted crap.
Few days back, I came across a tool that changed my life. Within few hours and 701 mouse clicks, my Gmail inbox was zero! And I even made sure that I don’t get any more crappy newsletters either.
Following are my best practices to declutter your inbox.
Install a mobile email app
I know that almost everyone has a smartphone these days. I don’t know how we lived for so long without one! Most of these phones come with a default email app. If your phone does not have one, go to Googleplay or Appstore and download the latest version. My personal favorite is the Outlook. Yes, yes even Gmail has its own app but I like Outlook better. Now you have access to email during the whole day, whether you are in a bus, in a meeting or even in the toilet!
Delete, delete and delete some more
If you haven’t realized by now, the key to a decluttered inbox is…You guessed right! DELETE. Whenever you encounter an unread email, just open it and read it. If it’s worthless, just delete it even without opening it. You have to ruthlessly delete your emails. Most of the time, we don’t want to delete because of fear of missing out. We promise ourselves to read them later but who are we kidding? So whenever possible, delete.
Check your mails at “odd” times
In a given day, there are times when we are bound to waste them. For me, daily commute is a real killer. Everyday morning when I go to work I tend to check my mails (This is the time when your mobile email client comes in handy). Another occasion is the toilet time! Whenever you are in the toilet doing very critical “things,” get into the habit of checking your mails. That way, you can declutter your inbox without wasting precious time. (Do not drop your phone in the toilet and blame me!)
If you are anything like me, I tend to subscribe many websites that are really useful. But after sometime you realize that they are not that important. That’s when you need to unsubscribe. If you look at each email you get, there is a button in the footer of the email which says “unsubscribe” (duh!). If you feel like certain newsletters are not adding value to your life, just unsubscribe.
If you were like me and subscribed to any pop-up that comes your way, by now your inbox must be filled with unread emails. Last week I found this great online tool that allows you to unsubscribe from everything that you have subscribed. It’s called Unroll.me. The best part is, it’s completely free! All you have to do is enter your email and it shows you everything that you have subscribed so far. Once it generates the list, you can start unsubscribing everything one at a time. So, you can keep the best subscriptions and delete the rest.
If you follow these simple steps, in no time your inbox will be clean and declutterd. Don’t thank me yet. Ultimately it’s important that you are self-disciplined to follow these hacks. But if you manage to read this post so far, I am sure you are already on your way.
Now go and clean your inbox. I hope you will feel serene like I did when I cleaned mine.
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