I have written about my emails a few times before… Back in 2015, I had grand ambitions of a weekly decluttering goal and one of the weeks was my email inboxes. I made progress, but didn’t get the job completely done…
It was about this time last year that I felt the need to revisit my email clutter… I did pretty well, emptying out 4 of my 5 email inboxes. But… I have let it all slide…
At the end of the last round of email decluttering my inbox totals were looking like this:
December 1, 2016 Total: 6452 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 6452
And today, my total is looking a bit more like this:
Current Inbox Total: 7487 + 8 + 22 + 7 + 3 = 7527
So, that’s actually not that bad… But what that doesn’t show is the emails that I have “sorted” in to my GTD folders (as I explained in that last post – and for those that aren’t following what GTD is, it stands for “Getting Things Done” and is the acronym for a methodology from David Allen’s book of the same name.) and haven’t done anything about… That’s not really the point of those GTD folders… They are supposed to help you “Get Things Done”…
Anyway, since I’m waiting for renovations to be completed before I can do any more traditional decluttering, I figured I could spend some time sorting through these email inboxes and GTD folders, and either do stuff, or delete stuff…
- my main personal email (gmail)
This is always my biggest email inbox, and the one that is the hardest to keep up on. The grand total when I decided to start looking at it was 7487, but I had 40 emails in my drafts folder, and then in the GTD folders, there were at least 40 another 40 in the @ACTION folder, another 5 in the @WAITING ON folder, and probably well over 150 in the REFERENCES folder. That adds up to another 250 or so emails…The first step was to concentrate on my inbox, since that’s where the big numbers were, and also where the easiest things to delete would probably be… I have not finished this project… It will take a while, but I have managed to decrease the number by about 1000 in the last couple days… I’m down to 6358…
- secondary personal email (hotmail)
This was a pretty quick endeavor. There were only 8 emails, and all of them could be deleted pretty quickly. I got the lovely little trophy displayed again.
What I didn’t do was go through the sub-folders, but I am pretty sure a lot of those emails could be deleted, I just want to print out a few items for my scrapbook before I delete them all, so I will wait (and put that as a future to-do item in my bullet journal).
- blog email (gmail)
Similar to my main email account, this email account’s GTD folders were sitting there holding lots of emails that I hadn’t done anything with… First I tackled the 22 emails in the actual inbox.
Turns out I was holding on to some of them because I thought I might use them as inspiration for blog posts… For months… Well… If I haven’t been inspired enough to use them to write something by now, I probably won’t… So “DELETE”…
There were some other random conversations that I was holding on to in hopes that I would get another response from the other side, but if I get a response, it will arrive, and I should be able to remember enough about the conversation to know what we are discussing… “DELETE”.
And so now I am at inbox zero!And what about those GTD folders?
- sports club account (gmail)
Technically, I was supposed to hand this off to someone at the beginning of this sports season, but I’m not totally sure that they have taken up this responsibility, nor are they really keeping up on the emails, so I still go in there and check emails and try to keep things organized for the club. I may have a hard time of letting go of the control…Anyway, there were only 7 conversations in the inbox, and all but 1 of them could be deleted. That 1 was something I’ll need to reference later, so I filed it in the references folder. Inbox = 0!But, as with the other emails, I also wanted to make sure I hadn’t dropped the ball on the GTD folders… So, I went through each of the folders, deleted a few emails and now, the only folder with emails in it is the REFERENCES folder. I call that a resounding success!
- shared/wedding email (gmail)
I mentioned last time that this isn’t really a wedding email anymore, just a shared email that my husband and I can both use when required. My husband reads these emails as much as I do I think, but I don’t think he deletes any of them… But we were looking pretty good with only 3 email conversations in the inbox.Easy enough to delete those. And since neither of us really use this email as a primary email, the other folders didn’t have much in them to deal with.
So, now that I’ve done all that… Where do I stand?
New Inbox Total: 6358 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 6358
That’s a pretty big improvement, but there is a lot of work left to do. At least I am down to the number I had at the beginning of December last year. I think I need to figure out a way to schedule some email clean-up time each day or each week to keep up on everything… Hmmm… Any suggestions on how to do that? Maybe I can make it a new habit in my bullet journal habit tracker?