Deal with email effectively
I work for the best email company in the world.
Although I love emails, ‘unsubscribe’ links are there for a reason.
I often found myself opening emails even though I didn’t read the content in it straight away. Anything to get rid of that annoying (1) indicator, right?
Most of the time, I opened emails that were marketing material from various companies – I had subscribed to receive their newsletter. We love news. We love hearing about new stuff. But this stuff sometimes gets out of hand. After taking steps to declutter my wardrobe and trying to shop smarter, it was very easy to just delete emails that were advertising sales and things I didn’t need. If I don’t read an email in its entirety straight away, chances are, I won’t come back to it again. So I try and deal with an email immediately. Most importantly, I file it away in a folder if I’m done with it, or delete it if I won’t touch it again.
I see people let their emails rise to 1000, 3000, 56636 unread emails, before they start trying to tackle it. That’s the worst way to do it. In my opinion, the best way is to deal with an email as soon as you open it. You usually choose between delete, take action straight away, or postpone.
The funny thing is, people let their inboxes become that full that by the time they decide to clean through it, they realise that about 80% of it is completely irrelevant because of how much time has passed. And I am willing to bet that at least 60% of those emails are either spam or newsletters.
Most newsletters can be deleted immediately
Most newsletters can be deleted. Sales don’t last forever, new products don’t stay new. News gets old quick, and you’ll probably get another newsletter the next day. I suggest making yourself digest an email newsletter when you open it, then decide whether it’s relevant to you. I’ll provide some examples.
I subscribe to T2 for news about tea, but most of the time they advertise a new range I am not super keen on trying. If I’m interested, I’ll make a note to go in-store and check it out. If not, I can delete the email.
I subscribed to many newsletters for concert venues. Over time, they stopped having concerts for bands I liked (typically, some venues will host certain ‘types’ of bands), so the newsletters did not feel relevant to me anymore.
Sometimes I forgot that I subscribed to things, until I get emails up to a year later, advertising some product. Who are you? Don’t spend too much time wondering. If you’re not interested, just unsubscribe.
How to Unsubscribe.
- Scroll to the bottom of the email.
- Click unsubscribe (if there is no link, reply to the email and ask to be removed, because by law there should always be an option to unsubscribe from a mailing list).
Just do it.
Don’t ever feel bad for unsubscribing. Seriously.
I have yet to meet anyone who has actually felt bad about this. You have every right to not be interested, and as much right to unsubscribe.
Don’t feel obligated to stay ‘loyal’.
Other people think, ‘Wow, I have been subscribed to this newsletter for so long! I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something if I unsubscribe now, even though the past couple of newsletters have sucked…’
Just unsubscribe. You’ll feel much better about it – trust me. Marketing is a means of gaining customers and keeping customers. Companies will lose customers as they cannot please everyone. If you unsubscribe, don’t think they lost a valuable customer. They probably gained at least ten subscribers who actually liked their new content, so you shouldn’t feel bad. (This goes back to the previous point.)
A fresher inbox
It takes time to really feel a sense of inbox freshness, especially if you subscribe to a lot of mailing lists without thinking. We do that sometimes. But after you clean out your subscriptions, you tend to think twice before just submitting your email address to another list, especially if you used to be swamped with newsletters you never read.
As a general rule, I try not to subscribe to more than I care to deal with. The notion of a busy inbox makes me feel uneasy. No one likes spending time in their inbox just trying to clean out shit. To put it simply, it’s a bloody waste of time. That’s why I digest and deal with an email as soon as I open it, deleting it if I don’t need it. It’s really simple to do, and once you get used to making a quick decision with an email, you’ll see the benefits:
- It gets you into the habit of actually being productive, preventing you from just leaving stuff in a giant backlog.
- It helps you become more organised.
- As this is such a simple task you may complete a few times a day (depending on how much email you receive), you can quickly begin to see where your priorities are.
- If an email needs more attention later, you’ll be faster inclined to deal with it later because you opened it and made a prompt decision to do so. You already recognised its priority.
- You are less likely to have a giant backlog of outdated emails to clean out.
- Cleaner inbox.
There is a service called Unroll.me that helps you unsubscribe to anything you’ve subscribed to. It is a pretty handy tool that supports a handful of email service providers.
What are your thoughts? Do you have other tactics to deal with a large flow of email?