I play a little game with myself when I’m on vacation. I don’t touch my e-mail. Not one bit. It helps that for most of the time I’m in an area where I get no cell reception, and I make sure not to connect to Wifi later. The result: 541 e-mails waiting for me when I got back home. The saddest part of this was that 97.38256% [umm yeah, highly calculated numbers there] of those e-mails were ones I never read anyway.
Once I logged in and started filtering through these e-mails, nearly ALL of them were for ads or subscriptions or newsletters I never bothered reading in the first place! I had gotten into the habit of simply clearing them out in the morning, or letting Google filter it off to the “Promotions” box that is largely ignored.
It’s taken me a week, but I’ve been slowly going through and unsubscribing to nearly every one. Yes, that semi-weekly list of tech articles that I thought I liked went by the wayside. When I thought about it, I clicked on all of two articles over the course of the year. Besides, I have a couple of aggregator news feeds for tech articles that I read far more often. That e-mail with discounted or free Kindle books worked great once or twice, but again, it was once or twice and not worth the daily hassle. I’ve started using GoodReads a bit to help track some of that down. Oh, and the e-mails to get discounts on pizza delivery that tempt me twice a week or so had to go away as well. If I’m really hungry and want a discount, I’ll look online then, RetailMeNot seems to have a good aggregate of coupons.
I woke up this morning and went through my routine: shower, coffee, devotional time, e-mail check. I froze for a minute because I had no new e-mail and it wasn’t even a weekend. Then it dawned on me that my “e-mail check” was really a “clean out all the junk stuff that I don’t read anyway” task. It felt nice. I could move on to other things. Hopefully next vacation my e-mail count will be far less than this year.
If you haven’t done so lately, take a moment to look through all of those “subscriptions” you get and think about how often you really read/utilize them. It may be worthwhile to clean out the mental and digital clutter they give.