Featured, General Tips, habits

Tech Habits for the New Year: Inbox Domination

I have a problem.

My inbox is always overflowing. Currently I have 13,473 emails in my inbox with more than 12,000 unread! I have tried for years to get better habits but this year I am going for it–Inbox Domination!

I don’t know that zero emails is realistic for me, but I do think I can take a few steps to improve the situation. The really bad thing is I help my husband manage his company email so it now resembles my personal inbox with way too many emails that should have been deleted but have been left to take up digital space. Oops!

So, in the interest of “new year, new you,” I’m going to try some new tactics.


Here are a few habits I am working to implement:

1) Read it or Delete it.

One of my main issues is that I don’t read the majority of email that I get. These are mostly from automated mailings like from stores or websites that I have signed up with. Thankfully Google does sort most of these out but I never go to the trouble to delete them.

Try this: Read emails that you think are worthy or delete them daily (or weekly, let’s be real here).

2) Unsubscribe.

Before you clean up the flood you have to turn off the spigot.

Every year I do a purge of things I have subscribed to. If I haven’t read your email in a few months, I’m probably not going to so I just need to click the tiny button at the bottom that says “unsubscribe.”

There are a few services like Unroll.Me that simplify this process. I’ve heard good things but I was a little hesitant to sign over control of my Gmail account to the level required so I’m passing for now. However, it does look like a great service.  I’ll just stick with the old fashioned way for now.

Try this: Each day spend 5 minutes of “tech time” unsubscribing from emails you no longer read or need or sign up for an “unsubscribe” service.

3) Delegate and Dominate.

A few years ago I was feeling a bit swamped by email from local homeschool message boards so I implemented a folder strategy that really helped. I obviously need to do more of this.  Number one fix is to change your message board setting to receive a digest email and not individual emails every time someone posts.

Try this: Tell those emails where to go! Set up a folder in your inbox (Gmail calls them “labels” — directions here). I have one called “Homeschool”. Then set up a rule so that every time an email is received from that board or website it automatically goes into that folder bypassing the inbox entirely.  Now when you want to read them they are all in one place!

4) Let it go!

I have come to realize that my biggest issue with email is a hoarding tendency to keep emails “just in case” I need them. I will say that there have been times that I have had to go back to an email from a few years ago, but let’s face it, that isn’t often. A hoarding expert says that we hoard out of fear so be brave and let it go. I’m going to embrace more of this.

Try this: Set a limit to how many email you can have in your inbox. When it gets above that limit set a timer and delete, delete, delete!  Also, set up folders for items you might really need to save–passwords, log in info, other important details.

5) Enlist help.

There is no shortage of apps, scripts and other tools to help you manage your inbox. I have used Boomerang for business purposes to automate email responses and help remind me of emails to follow up on.

Sort.d is another tool to help organize and manage your inbox by giving you side-by-side lists and drag-and-drop functionality to sort email. Other Google and Chrome scripts and plugins exist as well.

Try this: Download a helpful tool and give it a spin to see if it works for you.

Are you ready for Inbox Domination?

Join me by commenting below or on Facebook with the the number of emails in your inbox.

Commit to reduce this by half by Jan. 31!

I’ll be posting a new Tech Habit for the New Year each Monday in January. Subscribe or follow me on Facebook so you don’t miss any posts!


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