The Email Problem And How To Fix It

The Issue

It is an issue that affects all of us. We have each opened our email inboxes to find there are hundreds of unread emails. Some of us have ignored the problem and seen that number climb into the thousands. No joke. I'm being serial. In my deletion of emails that is.

In the Physical Realm

I will now admit to be something of a hoarder. Here we go. Right. I am... am... I am a bit of a... hoarder.

I am a bit of a hoarder.

There, I said it. I don't think I am the worst hoarder in history, far from it. However, in the physical world I tend to hold onto things: flyers, junk mail, old assignments and school/uni work, school/uni books, kid toys (okay, I'm slowly moving past that), gameboys, various electronics and objects I never use, old itunes gift cards and physical English dictionaries.

When was the last time I used some of this stuff?

I have a microphone I've barely used and therefore should sell. Well, I would if I wasn't going to use it soon. Sometime in the unforeseeable future.

Those flyers might provide future insight. Those books as well. I'm going to play my gameboy tomorrow. Well, I won't but I could never ever bear myself to get rid of it.

And therein lies the problem. I don't get rid of some of this stuff because it seems important in some way. Those itunes cards are bothering me though.

The Digital Equivalent

The thing with electronic mail is that it is not a physical entity. Unlike my teddy bears, they don't take up a corner of my room. They take up room in my electronic inbox, sure, but that is digital and can be ignored. In fact, I could never open my emails again and just leave the unread mail to grow like that mould on my itunes cards.

But I might miss something.

I might, you know. I might miss an email from a friend or a family member (important), or a work or study related matter (also important). Or I could miss the latest deal on a material or digital product (not important). No, the opportunity to get a good deal on something I don't need nor have the money for is very important to me. I am ever in search of the latest deal on ebooks, "the first wireless scanner mouse" and the like.

Not only might I miss out on spending money with the idea that will mean saving money, I could also miss out on updates from websites I have only visited once (also not important).

Most of these emails are deleted with barely a glance at who its from or the subject matter. Today I deleted almost 400 emails. I was (almost not quite) merciless in purging the ranks of my emails.

Like me, do you want to be free of having to constantly commit this digital genocide? Here's a few tips...

How to Avoid Massed Deleting

1 Admit you have a problem.

Can't argue with that. Admit that the hundreds of emails you recieve a day are an issue. That they are a waste of space in the matrix and hold no value. Then delete that stuff like Neo deleted Agent Smith.

2 Unsubscribe

Legally, you must be able to unsubscribe from recieving a company or groups emails. You will often find this little unsubscribe button at the very bottom of the email. If the little button takes you to a page giving you options to unsubscribe to different sorts of emails, simply make sure you unsubscribe from them all. All of them. Give no quater.

3 Don't subscribe

It might sound simple but can often be hard to do with sites offering you 'exclusive offers' if you agree to receive annoying emails from them. Don't be fooled. Only subscribe to things if you are 110% certain you will benefit from them. I don't mean benefit in that you hope to find an 'exclusive offer' among the hundreds of emails you'll recieve, but benefit in that you'll get updates on a musician you follow or a website that you visit frequently. Even then, subscribing to weekly updates may be a waste if you visit the site daily.

4 Beware the box

Sometimes when you enter a competition or create a new account somewhere in the interweb, a little mischievous box will be ticked professing your willingness to receive material from the site and third party affiliates. Beware the box, it has the ability to bring a lot of pain.

5 Spam filtering

If you have an email account which seems to let through a lot of offers of financial support from Nigeria, or competitions that ask for your bank details, you should do something. One thing could be to change your email client, personally I've found Gmail to be quite good at blocking spam, or if something does get through you can often report it so the client adjusts to your needs. Vice Versa, if you find an email that is most definitely not spam in your spam folder, you should be able to tell the mail client that as well.

In Memoriam

Here's to all those emails you have just deleted, to all those emails you have avoided and to those emails that will be steered away into your spam folder. We will commit their data to memory. Just as long as our inboxes don't.


One final word:

Although the majority of my posts are focused on photography and general thoughts on stuff, I may stray in the territory of writing about major/minor problems I might have, however random they might seem. I like to write and I hope you enjoyed this post and benefited from these tips. I know that emails have been a huge problem for me in just there being so many of them. If you think that anyone else might benefit from this post, feel free to share it with them.

Thanks for reading,

JR



Find out more about Proving Sunshine at:
http://www.provingsunshine.com/about/

Joel Gibson

Read more posts by this author.

Perth, Western Australia

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