Nowadays, clutter comes in many forms. Receipts, papers from school, junk mail, junk email, eblasts from online stores and chain letters; it seems never ending!
Unfortunately, all that noise can weigh on you over time. Just opening your inbox and seeing a slew of emails can be overwhelming.
Most times, you may hunt for one or two things you know you need to take care of, then close it out and wish it would all disappear.
Thankfully, with a few simple steps, that’s possible!
Take a day or two and observe where your pain points are. It may take some time to realize what is triggering anxiety that really doesn’t need to be a part of your life. Do you feel overwhelmed when you open your email? Facebook? Your phone?
Make a short list of your pain points, then follow the rest of the steps below.
Opt or Filter out
Inbox Zero is certainly something to aspire to, but let’s be honest, I highly doubt it’s achievable on a daily basis. What is Inbox Zero, you ask? It’s the concept that you have properly handled each email in your inbox in the following ways:
The idea is you handle the item immediately so it doesn’t get forgotten and you earn productivity bonus points in the process!
To be very clear, I think it’s a gigantic waste of time. I really don’t need to run after a gold star every day over something so meaningless. I have a household to run, in addition to a full time job!
Instead, here is my approach:
Analyze and process existing and incoming emails
Time needed: 10-20 min increments (depending on email volume)
- Bills – keep, archive once paid
- Store sales and fliers, filter so they delete immediately, or if you really can’t stand the thought of not having a coupon, filter so it marks as read and archives it for later searching. What I don’t like to see is the gads of store emails that then call out to me “20% off! 50% off! Big holiday sale! President’s Day Blowout!”. If I am not specifically looking for a particular item that I know your store carries, I don’t need your emails in my face every day, sometimes multiple times a day.
- Blog posts via email – I have blogs that I follow religiously, but that also means I know where to find their site if I really want to check something out. I like to keep these in a separate folder with a filter on it that marks as read and automatically directs the email to the desired folder. Out of sight, out of mind until I intentionally want to pay attention to it.
Handle what’s left
In all likelyhood, you’re now going to be left with a hodgepodge of items. If it’s been sitting in your inbox for the last 3-12 months and you’ve done nothing with it, chances are you can just delete it! If you can’t bear to delete, archive it.
Otherwise, figure out if what is left has an action associated with it. Need to call customer service to get that address adjusted? Add a reminder with a due date and pencil it in. Slowly, the monstrous pile of email will melt away.
First things first, edit the friends list. Delete or Unfollow (family, friends who you don’t want to follow but don’t want to offend either) with abandon.
Edit pages for businesses and organizations you liked. I recently moved from Oregon to Montana and it took me a week or two to realize all these businesses I liked in Oregon are no longer relevant to my life in Montana! Ask yourself, do I really want to see this every time I log into Facebook? If the answer is no, unlike!
There is nothing that drives me as batty as never being able to find the app I actually need when I am in a hurry and not having the battery available to actually do things I enjoy – like reading a book (a minimum of an hour at a time it seems like).
On your phone, go to your settings and scroll through the apps. If you don’t know what the app does and it gives you the option to delete the app – do it! Make that visual clutter disappear!
If you want to keep an app, but hate seeing Ebay or Etsy updates every time a new item pops up, block the notifications in Settings.
Think before you subscribe!
Unsubscribe like the ruthless declutterer you are!
If it doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies when you open your email, figure out how you can avoid seeing it every day. Same with Facebook.
We do hope our newsletter gives you warm fuzzies! If you are not already signed up to receive our newsletter you can do so here. 🙂