Like many people, my inbox is full, really full. I tend to be an organized person but over the past few years I found myself signing up for a lot of email lists. As the year comes to a close and I am in a season of reflection I’ve been taking an inventory of what causes me anxiety or heightens my stress. My email has been a culprit before but I remedied that by checking it less frequently and answering emails that really needed my attention and filed the rest away.
But alas, here I am again finding that my inbox gets cluttered with emails and causing me anxiety again. Like before, I took it upon myself to categorize each email that came into my inbox as: 1] Yup! I love when these come in! 2] It’s alright, but life would still go on without it just fine. 3] How the hell did you get in here? Yes, all those 3’s had to go.
The thing is, at some point I deemed all of them worthy of taking up space in my email. Maybe it was a freebie I used, a masterclass I attended, a course I bought. All of them had legit and solid reasons for being in my life. And at one time or another, they did bring me joy.
However, as the year comes to close and declutter my life, my head and my inbox I feel so much more clear and wish I had done it much sooner. When I reflect on why I didn’t, one word comes to mind: SCARCITY. It sounds something like this, “What if someday I am in a particular moment when that one thing from that one person is actually needed and I don’t have it. So….Imma stay on this list juuuuust in case.”
Buuuut, when their content comes in [which btw, all the content was great] I get all like, “Great, one more email I won’t read. Do I delete or for file?” Then, when I file it, it basically goes into the pit where all emails go to die. I will never look at it again.
After doing a little research, what I felt all along proves to be true: an overloaded inbox is a visual indication to your brain that you have a million things to do, whether you actually do or not. It can make you feel tense and even add unnecessary pressure to do something with it, even if that means filing it. It’s still an act that takes your precious energy and time. Facing this can often be so overwhelming that it causes anxiety. This not only physically slows you down, but it can also be mentally debilitating. This affects your ability to do your work effectively. Studies show that the higher your email overload, the higher your level of stress.
The simple act of just filing emails away I was never gonna read anyway had to stop. I started going to the bottom and hitting “unsubscribe” and whoa, freedom overcame my body. I felt liberated.
As the emails kept coming in, I kept unsubscribing. Before I knew it, they basically came to halt. I still get a few here and there but I got my inbox down to 0 and now I can keep it there each day because I’m not getting flooded with allll the emails I will never read.
Now, I feel the need to say this again because it’s so true. ALL of the people who I unsubscribed from had amazing content. It wasn’t about content. It was about refocusing my energy from consuming to acting. So much of my time during COVID was spent honing in and learning new skills or elevating current skills that I turned into a consumption junkie – I wanted all of it and literally couldn’t get enough. But there comes a time when you’ve consumed enough and it’s time to act on that new knowledge. I felt I wasn’t taking enough action. How do you take more action? Take back your time and energy from consumption and redirect it to action. Simple.
I didn’t just stop at email subscriptions either.
I canceled membership groups too. Again, it was never about content or anything to do with the membership, it was my time to be done learning and to start implementing. It was also about redirecting dollars to fuel the action I was taking.
I also decluttered and deep cleaned my entire office. I took every book off the shelf, cleaned out the file cabinet and rearranged my space for a fresh new feel. I even got a new candle and lit it to feed my sense of smell and relaxation while I create. [Even now as I write this blog, it smells so good.]
The “great purge” saved me at least 10 minutes each day of sifting through emails I either filed and never read or skimmed and still filed away – that’s about an hour a week. Also, my membership purge saved me over $100 a month. And my office, well, it’s really pretty too.
Here’s my final thought for those of you who are still saying, “I can’t unsubscribe from X person”, yes you can. If I ever change my mind or find myself missing the content, it will take about 2 seconds to sign back up.
If you’re feeling the pressure from your inbox, first, no one knows it but you. No one is looking over your shoulder and seeing your 300 unread emails. You are responsible for taking care of them. I took care of mine in 30 minutes by going and unsubscribing and deleting the ones I knew I wouldn’t read. The pressure was immediately lifted. Set a timer and do this for yourself. The new year is around the corner, you deserve to enter into this season with a clear head and that means cleaning the inbox clutter.
Is getting rid of the clutter in your life part of your 2023 goals? Or perhaps being an organized person is part of your best self. Then run, don’t walk [kidding, you just need to click on the link below, no running necessary] and grab my FREE Goal Planning Workbook: How to Plan Your Personal or Business Goals in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps.
Snag it right >> here << and start planning for the life you deserve with your goals in alignment for success.
All my joy and cheers to you,